22nd March 2019
With Britain being a relatively small country, having one of the world’s longest footpaths may seem like a playground boast. However, National Trails, Wales Coast Path and The Scottish Coastal Way are planning to link a multitude of footpaths that follow our jagged coastline, and if the proposed 2020 deadline is adhered to, we could have almost 2,800 miles of coastal paths to enjoy.
Even though the dots are yet to be joined, there’s mile after mile of coastal route waiting to be explored right now, so fish out those dusty walking boots and head for the coast.
We’re frequent visitors to Devon & Cornwall which has route after route on offer thanks to the South West Coast Path, and with a helpful website, dipping into a route or two when time allows is as simple as selecting a start and finish point before clicking submit.
Travelling back to the beginning of a lengthy route can involve a bus or taxi but, as I prefer to spend travel costs on a drink or bite to eat, we tend to use a pub or cafe as a mid-point marker before doubling back the way we came.
As a parent, bribery is an incredibly useful tool and the promise of an ice-cream is normally enough to tip the balance in favour of fresh air and exercise.
There's plenty to see on coastal paths - like the tin min chimneys that appear along the Cornish coast
‘Collecting’ trails is incredibly popular and we’ve bumped into numerous people on campsites who travel the coastline, adding each section of trail to their already impressive tally. It’s easy to see why as there’s no better feeling than really earning that pie and a pint.
Some of our best walks have been out of season. The paths are quieter, as are the sites, and the coastline changes its character to match the time of year. I’m not suggesting you keep the Coastguard on standby by tiptoeing along a windswept path, but chosen wisely with a degree of common sense, the off-season vista can be incredibly rewarding,
Although the coastal paths are geared towards walking, we’ve found cycle routes that run close to the coast paths and occasionally share the path for a distance, but navigation needs to be double-checked to avoid cycling on a designated footpath. The Sustrans website - www.sustrans.org.uk - offers cycling routes inland as well as close to the coast and should we fancy a spot of cycling instead of walking, finding a route is relatively painless. What’s more, it’s free! If you’re in Wales, the Wales Coast Path website has a great cycling section.
Poppy and Charlie on the beach
I’ll leave the final words to Poppy & Charlie:
One of our favourite coastal routes is the one near St Agnes Beacon Caravan & Motorhome Club site. Turn left out of the site, walk along the road and look for the tin mine chimney that towers above the sea. After looking at the disused chimney and buildings, we picked up the path and walked to the Chapel Porth Café where we had a Hedgehog Ice Cream after lunch in the caravan. Mum liked it especially as this location was used to film certain scenes in Poldark.
- Routes around England can be found at nationaltrail.co.uk and include plans for future routes.
- For distance tables and cycling routes in Wales visit walescoastpath.gov.uk
- Routes in Scotland can be found by visiting snh.gov.uk and typing ‘Great Trails’ in the search bar.
- The interactive map at southwestcoastpath.org.uk helps plan a great family day out.
- Café? Pub Lunch? Type ‘Nearby Pub’ or ‘Nearby Café’ into Google Maps which will serve as a great carrot-on-a-stick. The map will also show the location in relation to the path.
The Bailey Phoenix enjoying one of the many Certified Locations around the UK
Looking to find out more about the Davey’s caravan adventures? Read Lee’s Certified Locations campsite blog in a caravan here