Hiking Our National Trails

Follow My Footsteps On The UK’s Long Distance Paths

There are 15 National Trails in England and Wales (excluding the England Coast Path, which will be fully open in 2020) and I plan to walk them all. That’s 2,500 miles of trail across some of Britain’s most stunning landscapes, from the far south west to the top of England on the Pennine Way. And then there’s Scotland, which I haven’t even thought about yet!

It seems to me like the perfect way to discover the richness of the country in which I live. Join me from the comfort of your armchair, but I hope I inspire you to pull on your boots and get out there for your own adventure!

Trip Reports And Galleries

All the Reports (full reports) and Galleries (with short reports) include OS map and travel details, as well as some information about the types of facilities en route, along with details of any campsites I’ve stayed at. I hope the stories and info inspire you to plan a walk and get outside, but if there’s anything else I can help with feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best. Enjoy the read!

Taking in the view from Towanroath Engine House on the South West Coast Path near St Agnes, Cornwall. Copyright Stephanie Boon,. 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Taking in the view from Towanroath Engine House on the South West Coast Path near St Agnes, Cornwall

The South West Coast Path National Trail ~630 Miles~

South West Coast Path, Cornwall Section ~299 Miles~

18 Section Hikes From Marsland Mouth to Plymouth

I decided to section-hike the South West Coast Path in a continuous line and began the challenge near home in Newquay in Cornwall in 2014. Roll forward to early 2018 and I’d ticked off my first 300 miles, the whole of the Cornish coastline. There were some long absences along the way (nothing in 2015), for one reason or another, but you can follow my journey, the highs and the lows, in the reports and galleries below.

1. Holywell Bay to Trevaunance Cove 2014

9 miles. And so it began. This was the first walk of my challenge to section-hike the South West Coast Path with my friend Katie, which turned out to be a baptism of fire along exposed cliffs in 50mph winds in the depths of winter. It was an exhilarating start I won't forget.

2. Trevaunance Cove to Chapel Porth 2014

6 miles, with 3 miles of the South West Coast Path. This section of path is my playground, a place I know very well, but tackling it with flu is no way to enjoy it and ``...my boots were filled with lead and disappointment`` when I realised we'd have to cut it significantly shorter than we'd planned. Steep, energy-sapping steps got the better of me that day.

3. Chapel Porth to Porthtowan 2014

5.25 miles, including just 1.5 miles of the South West Coast Path. This walk was aborted because of more extreme weather conditions... the 50 mile an hour winds on our first walk were nothing compared to the terrifying 70 mile an hour gusts Katie and I experienced on the cliffs above Porthtowan.

4. Porthtowan to Godrevy 2014

Finally we were getting somewhere! On this walk we trod on Sally's Bottom and stared into the depths of Hell's Mouth. Guillemots and grey seals sheltered from the wind and we peered through thick mist to see them. We were on a high at the end of the day; our hike had properly begun.

5. Godrevy to St Ives 2014

11 miles. We were fortunate to hike this particular stretch of coast on the clearest and sunniest of winter days. Miles of sandy beaches along St Ives Bay glistened at low tide and offered fantastic views all the way, but seeing more washed up casualties of the winter storms reminded us just how quickly things can change.

6. Lusty Glaze to Holywell Bay 2014

9.5 miles. Sharks and camels, coffee and cardboard boxes; an odd mix for a walk on the coast path that began in Newquay, but Kuwati Katie had some stories to tell... and it would break my heart, but I didn't realise at the time that this would be my last hike with Katie, luckily it turned out to be one of the best.

7. St Ives to Porthcurno 2014

29 miles. 2 Day hike. It was early summer and the weather was glorious. I wild camped on the cliffs with views of engine houses clinging to the edge and the sun setting over the sea; the wildlife was exciting and the swathes of bluebells on the hillsides were breathtaking. I was euphoric, until I ran out of water, couldn't walk for blisters and almost missed the bus home.

8. Porthcurno to Penzance 2014

11.5 miles.

10. Lizard to Falmouth 2017

33 miles.

11. Marsland Mouth To Tintagel 2017

30 miles. The Devon and Cornwall border at Marsland Mouth was an exciting prospect: I'd planned a couple of nights wild camping along this spectacularly rocky part of the coast, but as usual things didn't go to plan...

12. Tintagel To Padstow 2017

21 miles.

13. Padstow To Newquay 2017

24 miles.

14. Gerrans Circular 2018

9 mile circular walk including 6 miles of the South West Coast Path from Place to Portscatho. This is the first section of the coast path on the Roseland Peninsular, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

15. Portscatho to Veryan 2018

8.5 miles, including 7.5 miles of the South West Coast Path from Portscatho to Portloe.

16. Veryan to Pentewan 2018

15 miles, including 13.5 miles of the Coast Path from Portloe to Pentewan.

17. Pentewan to Fowey, 2018

16 miles.

18. Polruan to Plymouth, 2018

36 miles, 2 day hike. Anticipation and excitement were high when I stepped off the ferry in Polruan: this was my last section of The South West Coast Path in Cornwall and by the end of the hike I would have walked 300 miles around the perimeter of my home county. And I didn't want it to end.

South West Coast Path, North Somerset and Devon Section ~125 Miles~

Section Hike From Minehead To Bude – 9 Days

The official start of The South West Coast Path is in Minehead in Somerset and I decided to hike from Minehead along the north coast back to Bude in Cornwall: this would be my first section of the trail outside my home county. The landscape along this part of the coast is absolutely stunning and I knew from experience that there’s some tough terrain to tackle too, but this hike threw up a challenge I really wasn’t prepared for…

Part 1: Somerset and North Devon, 2018

Minehead to Water Mouth, 39.5 miles. This section heads out along the beautiful coastline of Exmoor National Park, through Somerset into Devon. The steep hills are a rude awakening to the uninitiated, but the rewards are in the breathtaking and varied landscape from wooded combes lined with sessile oaks to ancient hamlets and salt marshes - and fireworks in Wales!

Part 2: North Devon, 2018

Water Mouth to Northam Burrows, 46.5 miles. This section follows the large estuary around Barnstaple, with about 30 miles of flat, easy walking...if you like tarmac cycle trails! The terrain might be easy but the unexpected drops in night-time temperature left me shivering in my bivi bag in the dunes on a couple of nights, wondering why I thought it was a good idea to leave my sleeping bag at home...

Part 3: North Devon and Back Into Cornwall, 2018

Northam Burrows to Bude, 39 miles. Steep, sharp climbs that come in quick succession define this section of coast path, with spectacular views around Hartland Point, Welcombe and Marsland Mouth, but be prepared to feel the burn. Waterfalls and poets' huts lured me along, but crossing the border back into Cornwall was the ultimate reward!

Norfolk Coast Path And Peddars Way National Trail ~93 Miles~

From Cromer To Knettishall Heath, A 7 Day Hike

Sometimes there’s a trail on your doorstep (on my parents’ doorstep to be precise) that it doesn’t enter your mind to hike, because the grass is always greener somewhere else. In May 2018 I set the record straight and gave Norfolk the chance to impress. I’ll let you read the report to discover whether it did…or not!

Norfolk Coast Path And Peddars Way 2018

A trail of two halves. I walked this trail the 'wrong way round' (as other hikers kept telling me!), beginning in Cromer and heading east along the coast before heading inland down a Roman road. I endured solo wild camping in pouring rain and watched incredible sunrises on the beach, I stayed with my parents for a night midway, and walked the second half with my son's aunt and uncle. I made 7 days of wonderful memories, which I hope you'll enjoy in this tale. Includes: trip report, galleries and 'Go Hike It' section to help you plan your own hike.

Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve 2018

This extraordinary RSPB nature reserve is right on the Norfolk coast, but the National Trail skirts around it to avoid the salt marshes and the busy A149 between Thornham and Brancaster. I've included it here because it's only 1km from Thornham and well worth the detour, especially for nature lovers. (There's also a cafe on site for hungry hikers!)