Walk with a guide
There’s a whole host of great walking festivals to take part in this year suitable for a wide range of interests and abilities, whether you like easy-going nature walks or bracing cliff top hikes
3 April - 7 May The Great South West Walk
The South West Coast Path Association’s Great South West Walk involves hundreds of people walking the entire length of the South West Coast Path in a series of relays over a period of 6 weeks.
Starting on the south coast in Poole on 3rd April and the north coast in Minehead on the 16th April, both coastlines will be tackled in tandem with 630 miles being travelled before coming together at Land’s End for celebrations on the 7th May.
Following the theme of last summer’s Olympic torch relays, the South West Coast Path Association have arranged a travelling icon of its own. A pair of red walking boots, to commemorate its 40th anniversary, will separated at the start of the event – the right one to travel down the north coast and the left along the south, passed on each day from the walking guides who will be leading each of the 56 legs.
It's never too late to sign up to some of the later walks. Call 01752 896237 or visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/40th-anniversary
15-20 April Boscastle Walking Week
The beautiful fishing village of Boscastle, with its ancient harbour almost invisible from the sea, is a great base for a walking holiday on the north coast of Cornwall. What better time to visit than during Boscastle walking week? The sixth year of this event sees an extended range of walks and activities for you to pick and mix from with something for all ages and abilities.
This beautiful stretch of coast includes some dramatic headlands that contrast with numerous picturesque river valleys, making this one of the most diverse sections of the South West Coast Path. Join an experienced and informed local guide on a ramble to waterfalls or steep climbs to Cornwall’s highest coastal cliff top. Or meander along the country lanes and pathways that would have been familiar to the writer Thomas Hardy, whose life-changing visit to Boscastle produced poetry regarded by many as amongst the finest in the English language.
As well as walking, a range of events including Cream Teas and special ‘Meal deals’ will be available as well as a festival dinner. More information on all the walks and the week’s activities www.boscastlefestival.co.uk or contact the Visitor Centre on the harbour Tel. 01840 250010
27 April to 6 May North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival
Explore the coast of North Devon and Exmoor with its wild Atlantic breakers and high cliffs with far reaching views towards Lundy Island and the Welsh Coast. This festival programme is packed full of guided walks and includes a variety of stunning landscapes taking in parts of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Exmoor National Park.
It starts in Ilfracombe, taking in the Victorian splendour of the town and the contrasting landscapes either side from the Torrs towards Woolacombe to the Hangman Hills en route to Combe Martin, including the highest sea cliff on the English coast at Great Hangman. It moves on along the coast to Lynton and Lynmouth where Exmoor’s high sea cliffs and the areas wooded combes will be explored fully as well as Lorna Doone country. It then moves along the coast again to the area around Porlock for the next three days with great views inland and out to sea. Lastly it moves on to the area surrounding Dunster for the last two days, incorporating a seam train heritage walk and a lakeside bat walk at Wimbleball.
For more info visit www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk
21 to 27 September Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival 2013
The third Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival is set to showcase the best of the areas coast and countryside with a diverse programme of walks, designed to provide people of all ages, interests and abilities the chance to roam along the beautiful Jurassic Coast and over unspoiled heathland, through nature reserves and idyllic Dorset villages. The area is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, and those taking part can expect to see some of the UK’s rarest species such as the Sikka Deer for example, as well as magnificent and iconic landmarks such as CorfeCastle and Old Harry Rocks.
Take a leisurely stroll for a mile and a half walk around Swanage, discovering the fascinating history of this beautiful Victorian seaside town, or for the more active take the day out, with sixteen miles along the South West Coast Path on the infamous 'Jurassic Roller Coaster. Expect a variety of experiences, with discounts for those opting for trips on Swanage Steam Railway, and pub lunches included for some, or how about resting your feet and eating a packed lunch, sitting in a flower-filled meadow and looking out to sea?
More details can be found on the Walking Festival website, www.walkswanage.com
18 October to 3 November: Fal River Autumn Walking Festival
The Fal River Autumn Walking Festival is a stunning collection of the very best of what the Fal River has to offer. The area’s wildlife, nature and historical points of interest are on display as the walks meander along the estuary taking in the South West Coast Path, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
This event provides a great opportunity to see the Cornish countryside in all its autumnal glory featuring guided and self-guided walks through some of the most stunning scenery the county has to offer. There are a range of graded walks for all the family (and the dog!) to suit all abilities taking in areas from Falmouth to Truro, the Roseland to the Helford Passage. For more details visit www.falriver.co.uk/walkingfestival
The walks in this series can be physically demanding in places, often covering uneven terrain and steep hills. Sturdy footwear should be worn.
Please check the distance and rating for each walk. Some sections include additional information regarding terrain and walking conditions.
All walks are fully risk assessed and insured.
For more information on staying safe while walking the Coast Path visit our advice page.