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 Post subject: South West Coast Path
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:32 pm 
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I show below where I stayed on my walk and have given the accommodation a quick rough guide as how good they were. There was nothing wrong with "Good" but I wanted to be able to give some "Very Good" and some "Poor"! Happy to provide further information on each or the walk if you wish. Sorry that it isn't paginated that well!

Overnight Accommodation VG/G/Poor
Minehead Marston Lodge Hotel 01643 702510 G
Lynmouth The Bath Hotel 01598 752238 G
Combe Martin Blair Lodge Hotel 01271 882294 VG
Woolacombe Clyst House B&B 01271 870220 VG
Barnstable Cresta Guest House 01271 374022 G
Westward Ho! Brockenhurst B&B 01237 423346 G
Clovelly The Old Police House B&B 01237 431256 G
Elmscott Elmscott Youth Hostel 01237 441367 G
Bude (Upton) Harefield Cottage B&B 01288 352350 VG
Boscastle Boscastle Youth Hostel 0870 7705710 VG
Port Gaverne The Anchorage B&B 01208 880629 G
Trevone Well Parc Hotel 01841 520318 P
Newquay Beresford Hotel 01637 873238 P
Perranporth The Perranporth Hotel 01872 573234 G
Portreath Fountain Springs B&B 01209 842650 G
St. Ives 6, Barnoon Terrace B&B 01736 793172 G
Pendeen Pendeen Manor Farm B&B 01736 788753 G
Porthcurno Sea View House B&B 01736 810638 G
Marazion Blue Horizon B&B 01736 711199 G
Mullion Cove Alma House B&B 01326 240509 G
Coverack Coverack Youth Hostel 0870 7705780 G
Falmouth Grove Hotel 01326 319577 G
Portloe Broom Parc B&B 01872 501803 VG
Mevagissey Honeycombe House B&B 01726 843750 VG
Par 84, Par Green B&B 01726 813720 G
Polperro The House on Props B&B 01503 272310 G
Portwrinkle 'B&B by the C' B&B 01503 230947 G
Plymouth Sea Breezes B&B 01752 667205 VG
Down Thomas The Mussel Inn 01752 862238 G
Battisborough Bugle Rocks, The Old School B&B 01752 830422 VG
Salcombe Torre View B&B 01548 842633 G
Strete Skerries B&B 01803 770775 VGBrixham Sampford House B&B 01803 857761 G
Shaldon Potters Moorings Hotel 01626 873225 G
Sidmouth The Hollies B&B 01395 514580 G
Lyme Regis The White House B&B 01297 443420 G
Abbotsbury Abbotsbury Tea Rooms B&B 01305 871143 G
Weymouth Greenwood Guest House B&B 01305 775626 G
Lulworth Cove Lulworth Youth Hostel 0870 7705940 G
Swanage Swanage Youth Hostel 0870 7706058 G
South Haven Point Express Hotel, Poole 01202 649222 P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Sorry, only joined today and posted on this board and now I see that there is one for accommodation! If the moderator can swap it please do - I'll try harder in future! :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:16 pm 
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Welcome Rutherford - I've heard different stories about the SWCP but on the whole they have been positive. I would be interested to hear about the walk with a summary of the best parts of the walk as I wouldn't mind doing a section of it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:31 pm 
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I'll draft something out and post it on here. My journal goes to 82 pages so I'll condense it as you don't really want to know about the state of my feet and what I had to eat (not my feet!). However just to let you know in advance that I loved it, however it supposedly has been walked by someone with a GPS and there is 114,930 feet (21 miles) of ascent (and descent), which is only 1,210 feet short of four times the height of Mount Everest from sea level. A good way to lose weight, I lost one and a half stone! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:12 pm 
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Moderator comment: I think the post stands on its own here, but I'll maybe add a link from the accommodation section to this post.

Personal comment: I would also love to see/read an account of the walk. It forms part of my Lands End - JOG planning, so currently in my thoughts. The numerous ups and downs were a consideration, so I'm also planning a straight through the middle path too.

Walking a coastal path in bad weather also seems like an unnecessary thing to do :)

Oh yes, and welcome to the forum.
This is a new walk for this site, I don't think we have any other references to it, and it's always nice to get a new perspective on things

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:41 pm 
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It is proving a bit more difficult to condense my journal than I thought but I have made a start! So I'll start with a preamble as I am concerned that people keeping looking at the message board and I haven't put anything further on it!

Minehead to Sandbanks Distance 630.4 miles Total ascent 114,930 feet

If you are thinking of walking the SWCP then I would join the SWCP Association. I can't recall how much it cost but it wasn't much and they provide a guide to the path split up into 80 different stages (without maps) showing difficulty, distance, ascent and a rough time that it will take which I found useful for general background information. However I used the Cicerone Guide written by Paddy Dillon for route finding, whilst it was adequate to walk with there is little information shown off route. I therefore borrowed OS maps from the library in order to make a few notes and get a better perspective especially on those river crossings where I would have to walk around a river if I did not arrive at the crossing point at low tide or when the ferry ran. However navigation wasn’t a problem, I just kept the sea on my right-hand side (useful information, if walking the other way keep the sea on you left hand side!) and took the path closest to the sea although, to be fair, the signage was excellent in most places. The SWCP guide also includes details of accommodation showing the address, phone number, email address, map reference, distance from path, cost & facilities. There are 44 pages of B&Bs with about 10/11 B&Bs per page and 7 pages of campsites with similar information as well as youth hostels and tourist information centres.

I got a bit grumpy one day when there was a stretch of about 200 yards that was a bit overgrown until I put it into perspective of the whole length of the walk which was extremely well kept. The local councils should be congratulated - I did email them afterwards.

Although the route is not challenging in the sense that it is not too remote and that the navigational skills required were virtually nil, there were many very testing steep climbs and descents. Over 66 miles of the walk are classified as 'severe'.

In view of the fact that I wanted a bit more freedom to stop when I felt like it during this walk the planning was a bit different than on previous long distance walks. I had no plan at the start as to where I was going to stay or how long it would take me although I thought perhaps betweeen 5/7 weeks. I intended to stay mainly in bed & breakfast accommodation although camping on other occasions when the weather was not too bad or when there was ‘no room at the inn’. In order to keep the weight down the only camping equipment I took were a tent, a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat. I only booked accommodation ahead at Clovelly and Pendeen Watch although I nearly had to camp at Mullion Cove as it was a Bank Holiday but I eventually managed to find single accommodation. In the end I didn't camp at all as I wanted to camp in places where I had stayed as a kid with my parents - when I got there the weather had changed!

I started walking in the middle of April 2007. May was supposed to be the ideal time to walk because the coastal flowers were due to be at their best but with the good weather we had the wild flowers were magnificent when I started but had begun to get past their best by the end of the walk.

Trying to summarise 630 miles and some 6 weeks of walking is not going to be easy so I will try to summarise it into weekly "chunks" over the next few days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:01 am 
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We're clearly going to be treated to a good report on SWCP from Rutherford, whereas my experience is limited to the north coast and the south between Lands End and Penzance.
I wouldn't want to miss out much of it, though the trek around the estuaries through Barnstaple/Bideford wasn't much fun. Buses are an option for all but the purist - will I be excommunicated for this suggestion?
There was an absolutely dire bit between Bude and Boscastle where the path disappeared amongst bushes and cattle-mashed mud as I descended and re-ascended a horrible great landslip. It was probably less than a mile, but it was one of the worst stretches I've walked anywhere. Looking at the map afterwards, it would have been easy to nip around it on a lane and across a couple of fields had I realised what awaited me, and I would deinitely do that if I ever walked there again.
I was camping, so I had more weight on my back than usual. The ups and downs were very testing for my ageing body, and they came all too frequently especially just west of Tintagel. The SWCP official guide warns you about that stretch, and it's right to do so.
The bits I knew least well beforehand were in Somerset and NE Devon, and there I had some delightful and unexpected experiences of absolute solitude and sightings of herds of red deer. There again, the stretches of tarmac were disappointing. All in all, an excellent walk with plenty of opportunities for discreet wild camping and loads of places for refreshments at lunchtimes (Hartland Point snack bar especially) and evenings.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:57 am 
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Mank thanks Rutherford. It whets the appetite.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Stottie wrote:
Buses are an option for all but the purist - will I be excommunicated for this suggestion?


Oh for Pete's sake :)
Whatever next - www,goingbybusinsteadofwalkingplaces.co.uk?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:02 pm 
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Hello Rutherford,

I too am looking forward to hearing more of your walk, especially since I am interested in walking in and around Exmoor on our next trip; how is the coastal path in that section?

Thanks,

Ken


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Hello K and to the rest of you that have kindly looked at my first posting,

I tried to condense my 80 odd page journal down into weekly chunks but it is proving a bit too difficult. Some of the issue is that the coast path is different around each headland which is a joy when walking but when I try and put it into words it is all the same! I end up saying more about the resorts than I do about the pleasure of walking this wonderful coast. I think that it is easier for me, if you don't mind, if I respond to specific questions. However a generality, the northern coast is far more remote, rough, rocky and more severe than the southern coast which, in the main, has more gentle climbs over grassy cliffs. If you exclude the Woolacome to Westward Ho! stretch, which is quite flat, my average daily climbing was 3,300 feet on the north coast compared to 2,500 feet in the south.

To answer K's specific question about the SWCP you enter the Exmoor National Park shortly after leaving Minehead and stay in it until reaching Combe Martin some 35 miles later after about 9,800 feet of ascent/descent. There is a steep climb out of Minehead followed by open moorlands, with wild Exmoor ponies in the distance, until reaching Porlock then through woodlands, farm tracks and field paths before the cliff path to reach Lynmouth. The path to Combe Martin is easy once you have climbed up beside the cliff railway, it is fairly flat until a couple of deep valleys with a bit of a pull up Great Hangman, a stretch of moorland walking again before descending to Combe Martin. On balance a nice walk, not too difficult with good views and obviously with a bit of "undulation".

If you are looking for something more difficult then the path from Hartland Quay to Bude at some 15 miles crossing 10 river valleys is said to be "probably the most difficult section of the whole SWCP".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:39 am 
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Lone Walker wrote:
I would also love to see/read an account of the walk. It forms part of my Lands End - JOG planning, so currently in my thoughts. The numerous ups and downs were a consideration, so I'm also planning a straight through the middle path too.

Walking a coastal path in bad weather also seems like an unnecessary thing to do :)


I'll respond on the LeJoG board in order that others thinking about walking it can find my initial thoughts.


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 Post subject: Woolacombe
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:45 pm 
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As lots of people have looked at the page but not asked any questions I thought that I would add my highlight of the walk and also one of the funniest:-

I think that the sight of Woolacombe having just come round a headland, after seeing a peregrine falcon sitting on a rock only about 6 feet away, was the main memory and highlight of my walk. It had been a lovely sunny day and Woolacombe looked lovely, a two-mile long wide sandy beach with lots of surfers in the sea with the sun out attempting and succeeding in surfing on some very small waves. The pub was good in the evening, sitting outside eating my food with a couple of pints with the surfers still out in the bay in the setting sun! Wonderful.

One of the funniest bits was when I stopped at a 3 star hotel on the way into Woolacombe. Having enquired about a room I was told that there was a room in the attic with no windows for £70 a night and if I wanted a meal I would need a jacket and tie :lol: . Exactly where they thought I would drum up a jacket and tie from I am not too sure - I thought about putting on my waterproof jacket and making a tie out of some string but that would have been expensive! I must admit that I turned up in shorts and an old running top that was wet with sweat - I thought I smelt Ok. However I found a really good B&B instead just off the main road with a lovely couple running it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:38 pm 
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I have done probably around three quarters of the SWCP, spread over many long weekends and one memorable 10-day stint from Newquay down around Lands End and on past the Lizard to Falmouth.

There are some boring bits, like every LDW, but the vast majority is marvellous.

I have always wild-camped and rarely had any problem, but I did sometime need to be imaginative. Amongst the dunes at St Ives was novel but excellent - ideally placed for an early morning dip! I have found very many absolutely beautiful sites though.

As many others have noted though, it's no easy ramble. Some sections have an awful lot of ascent, often very steep as well. One just has to be patient! But there is a continuous succession of fantastic views, marvellous wildlife, incredible wild flowers in Spring and Summer, and if camping, many memorable sunsets.

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm a great fan!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Hello Rutherford,

Sorry for the long delay in responding and thanks for the details on the Exmoor section of the walk. I have a feeling we would combine some walking on the coast path with other walks around Exmoor, generally keeping our days short since we are slow walkers. I shall have to get the relevant OS map and have a look...

Thanks again,

K


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 Post subject: Re: South West Coast Path
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:09 pm 
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For anyone who has completed the SWCP there is a free badge for those who want a memory of the 630 mile walk. After 630 miles I take anything that is free! See:-

http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/newsapp/article/9/


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 Post subject: Re: South West Coast Path
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:04 pm 
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They have just issued some books (c. 64 pages) available from the SWCP Association of short walks along the path both circular and linear. I have received a couple of them as they used a few of my photographs. The purpose of the message is just to let you know that if you happen to be thinking about short walks on the SWCP rather than the whole thing I think that they are well worth considering. The two that I received both have 17 walks showing the distance, estimated walking time, difficulty, ascent, OS map used and the grid reference starting point showing where to park. See:-

http://www.swcpa.co.uk/categories/Short-Walk-Books/


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