Stephanie Boon hiking on the South West Coast Smiling at the camera.

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Plan Your South West Coast Path Hike The Easy Way!

In 100-mile sections!

The South West Coast Path is thet UK’s longest waymarked national trail – 630 miles of bucket-list hiking!

630 miles though – that’s a planning nightmare! It’s overwhelming. There’s an easy way to plan your South West Coast Path hike though, and that’s to break it down into much smaller chunks, which is where this guide comes in.

It’s much easier to organise your South West Coast Path itinerary in 100-mile sections, whether you’re thru-hiking or walking the trail in stages.

Most section-hikers can comfortably walk around 100 miles a week, and if you’re thru-hiking the whole trail you’ll find shorter sections less overwhelming to plan.

It’s a difficult task to put all that amazing hiking into one guide, so here at 10 Mile Hike, you’ll find 2! This one gives you

  • a short guide to each 100-mile section
  • some planning details for each section, including travel and resupply
  • plus links to my individual articles within that section. You’ll find loads of inspiration in those, from photos to stories and more travel details (these particular travel details are really handy for day hikes or shorter section hikes)

The sculpture in Minehead marks the start of the South West Coast Path national trail

The other guide is Your ultimate Guide To Hiking The South West Coast Path. The Ultimate Guide gives you the big picture – all the general planning details you need. It includes things like wild camping, best times to go, gear, navigation, and so on. Head over there if that’s what you need right now. Otherwise, dive into planning your hike in 100-mile sections!

100 Mile Sections

The trail begins in Minehead in Somerset on the north coast and finishes on the south coast at South Haven Point (Poole Harbour) in Dorset. Each 100-mile section (ish) is laid out consecutively:

Contents

  1. Minehead to Hartland Point 105 miles
    Somerset, crossing into north Devon at County Gate, and into Cornwall at Marsland Mouth
  2. Hartland Point to Perranporth: 96.5 miles
    Cornwall
  3. Perranporth to Mullion Cove: 91.8 miles
    Cornwall
  4. Mullion Cove to Looe: 95.4 miles
    Cornwall
  5. Looe to Torquay 105.1 miles
    Cornwall, crossing into South Devon in Plymouth
  6. Torquay to Weymouth Ferrybridge (including the Portland loop): 92.3 miles
    South Devon, crossing into Dorset at Lyme Regis
  7. Weymouth Ferrybridge To South Haven Point (Poole Harbour) 42.6 miles
    Dorset

 

I'm head down some cliffs wearing a backpacking rucksack on a sunny day

Hiking on the north Cornwall coast

 

Notes On Travel And Resupply Details

The travel details I’ve given for each section include the most direct bus and train routes to and from a main line railway station.

Trains

Main line rail routes provide connections to towns and cities all around the country. The route that serves areas closest to the South West Coast Path is operated by Great Western Railway between London Paddington and Penzance (Cornwall).

Other useful train operators for smaller sections of the trail include Cross Country (with links via Birmingham) and South Western Railway (serving Weymouth, Poole, and London Waterloo.)

The best way to work out a route is to use this map:

I’ve included links to the closest stations in each section, with maps that show local bus stops too.

Find the best price rail tickets with this guide: How To Plan A Backpacking Trip On A National Trail: Travel

Buses

You’ll find links to the relevant bus operators below, as well as the route number to search for in their timetables.

Ferries

There are lots of ferry crossings on this national trail and most of them are seasonal. This means that some sections are only feasible to hike between April (usually Eastertime) and October- be sure to check the timetables linked below.

Resupply

I’ve listed the main towns and villages along the route that have convenience stores and/or large supermarkets, cafes/pubs that should have charging points and most other services you’ll need – open all year.

There may well be small hamlets and villages that I haven’t mentioned that also have cafes, pubs, public toilets etc, but these could be seasonal.

1. Minehead to Hartland Point: The First 105 Miles

Somerset and North Devon, Crossing into Cornwall

Highlights include Croyde, Clovelly, the Exmoor Coast including Valley of Rocks and Lynton and Lynmouth, Great Hangman (the highest cliffs on the whole trail), and the fantastic Blackchurch Rock.

You can expect steep climbs, uneven flights of endless steps, remoteness and spectacular views that make the effort worthwhile!

 

Croyde Bay

 

A narrow cobbled street is lined with quaint, colourful old cottages and a group of walkers stand smiles in the foreground

The steep cobbled street of Clovelly. Enjoy a pint at the Red Lion before trudging your way back up again!

 

Blackchurch Rock is a large stack with 2 arches that stretches into the sea. It looks like a fallen pack of cards.

Blcakchurch Rock is between Minehead and Hartland Point in North Devon – and not to be missed! (It’s near Clovelly at SS 29891 26642)

 

Daisies, poppies and cornflowers line the edge of a field and a group of women are walking beside it in the distance

Wildflower field edges on the cliff tops

Travel

Travel To Minehead

  • Arrive by train at Taunton GWR main line station with Cross Country connections
  • Bus: Taunton to Minehead (approx 1.5 hours): First Somerset Route 28

Travel From Hartland Point

Ferry Crossings

YHA And Places To Stay

There are no YHAs on the coast path in this section

  • UK Hiking Resources Links to find campsites, B&Bs and independent hostels
  • Campsites I’ve stayed at include:
    • Clovelly: Ashcroft Farm (2022) offered clean, simple facilities including a basic kitchen with a washing machine. It’s about 4 miles from the coast path though and no taxis were available, and it’s expensive if you’re travelling alone. I’ve also wild camped on the coast near Clovelly, which was much easier.
    • Hartland Quay: Stoke Barton Farm And Campsite A mile or so off-trail but worth the walk – it’s the best backpackers’ campsite I’ve stayed at. As well as a flat pitch there’s a brilliant large common room with comfy sofas, several microwaves and kettles, a complimentary stock of drinks from tea to hot chocolate, a fridge, freezer, and loads of sockets for charging. The shower facilities are simple but just what you need. There’s also a washing machine and a small shop.

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Minehead
  • Ilfacombe
  • Lynton and Lynmouth

2. Hartland Point To Perranporth: 96 Miles

Highlights include the geology at Millook, plus Boscastle, Tintagel, Port Isaac, Padstow, Newquay (the beaches, not the town!) and Holywell Bay.

More steep climbs and uneven steps mark this section of the South West Coast Path, but the scenery is outstanding

North Cornwall

A tall cliff with a folded rock face drops vertiginously into the sea .

Spectacular cliffs at Millook

 

A tall sea stack rises from the bottom of the cliffs and there's a small island rising from the sea in the distance

Rock stack near Tintagel

 

From high on the cliffs the view looks down at a steep winding path that rises steeply on the other side of the combe. There are cows at the bottom and an azure coloured sea

Enjoy the climbs to Boscastle!

 

The twin peaks of Carter's Rocks rise like island from a green sea on a sunny winter's day

Carter’s Rocks at Holywell Bay, Newquay

 

Clear blue/green seas seen from the clifftops with a lifeboat station just visible in the distance

Mother Ivey Bay near Padstow

Travel

Travel To Hartland Point

Travel From Perranporth

  • Bus from Perranporth (beach car park) to Truro First Kernow route U1A
  • Train from Truro: Truro train station is on the GWR main line (also served by Cross Country)

 

A large sandy beach with people sunbathing in the foreground. Chapel rock can be seen in the distance.

Perranporth beach is a popular holiday spot – and great for a swim after a long day’s hike!

Ferry Crossings

  • Padstow to Rock timetable – seasonal
  • Newquay to Crantock via Fernpit Ferry – seasonal, but it’s possible to walk for a few hours either side of low tide (or add an additional 3-mile walk at high tide)

YHA And Other Places To Stay

  • Youth Hotel Association: hostels on the coast at Boscastle, Tintagel, Treyarnon Bay, and Perranporth
  • UK Hiking Resources: Links to find campsites, B&Bs, and independent hostels
  • Campsites I’ve stayed at include:
    • Hartland Quay: Stoke Barton Farm And Campsite.See above for details – it’s the best campsite I’ve stayed at!
    • Bude: Upper Lynstone Caravan Park (2022) which is accessible from a footpath on the SWCP. It’s a large site full of motorhomes which felt very commercial, but the facilities were good. I’ve stayed here in the past too but it didn’t have the overwhelming claustrophobic feeling then – time of year maybe?
    • Widemouth Bay: Penhalt Farm it’s a few years since I’ve stayed here, but it was a pleasant site with an old-fashioned feel. It wasn’t too busy then – but it was pouring with rain!

 

A view through the opening of a tent flysheet to a stormy sunset on the coast

Wild Camping on the north Cornwall Coast

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Bude
  • Tintagel (slightly off-trail in the village)
  • Port Isaac
  • Padstow
  • Newquay
  • Perranporth

Read Articles About Hikes And Walks Between Hartland Point And Perranporth

3. Perranporth to Mullion Cove: 91.8 miles

North And South Cornwall

This section includes larger towns like Perranporth, St Ives and Penzance, as well as smaller towns like Porthleven. There are other beautiful places too, like St Agnes, Godrevy, Porthcurno,  Mousehole, Church Cove and Mullion Cove. And don’t forget Land’s End…as long as you don’t look at the monstrosity behind you!

 

Perranporth sands from the rocks at Droskyn Point

There are miles of sand on Perranporth and Perran beaches at low tide. This view is from the cliffs at Droskyn Point (where there’s a YHA)

 

Towanroath engine house teetering on the edge of the Cornwall Coast Path near St Agnes

Towanroath engine house on the edge of the cliffs at St Agnes

 

Grassy path along the cliffs to Godrevy with the lighthouse out on a small island

Footpath to Godrevy on the Porthtowan and Portreath to Hayle section

 

Watching the sunrise from a wild camp at Porthcurno

 

Big waves roll onto a sandy beach on a bright sunny day.

Church Cove, close to Mullion

Travel

Travel To Perranporth

  • Arrive at  Truro GWR main line station with Cross Country connections
  • Bus from Truro (outside the railway station) to Perranporth: First Kernow route U1A (arrives at the beach car park)

Travel From Mullion

  • Walk to Mullion village centre
  • Bus from Mullion to Redruth railway station (via Helston): Go Cornwall route 34
  • Arrive at Redruth train station GWR with Cross Country connections
A tall islands form a dramatic backdrop to of the small harbour walls (with a handful of people walking along the top) of Mullion Cove on this sunny day.

Mullion Cove and harbour

 

Ferry Crossings

None needed for this section

YHA And Places To Stay

  • Youth Hotel Association: hostels on the coast at Perranporth, Portreath, Land’s End, and Penzance
  • UK Hiking Resources Links to find campsites, B&Bs, and independent hostels
  • Campsites I’ve stayed at include:
    • Land’s End: Land’s End Camping And Glamping – an easy 10-minute walk from the trail. It’s a fantastic site with level pitches, posh showers, a kitchen with a microwave, kettle and freezer – and more sockets and USB sockets than you can shake a stick at!

 

2 tents beside a hedge with a wooden picnic bench nearby

Land’s End Camping and Glamping site

Resupply – Main Towns And Village

  • Perranporth
  • St Agnes (about a mile off trail in the village)
  • Porthleven
  • St Ives
  • St Just (a mile or so off trail, but good town facilities if you need them)
  • Penzance
  • Mullion (off-trail in the village, but with an excellent Co-op)
Longships lighthouse is silhoutted against a soft colourful sky on rocks out at sea

Sunset over Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End

Be Inspired!

Read Articles About Hikes And Walks Between Perranporth And Mullion Cove

 

You Might Also Like

 Your Ultimate Guide To Hiking The South West Coast Path – the big picture, including gear lists, wild camping, etc

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip On A National Trail: Travel – how to get the best price tickets, etc

UK Hiking Resources – links to travel operators, trail guide publishers, campsite searches, and more

All national trail guides and articles – from The South West Coast Path to Offa’s Dyke Path

4. Mullion Cove to Looe: 95.4 miles

South Cornwall

Celebrate the halfway point of the South West Coast Path at Porthallow!

Highlights of this section include Kynance Cove, Lizard Point (the UKs most southerly point), Helford Passage, Falmouth, Portscatho, Fowey and Polperro – and plenty more besides!

Looking out from the South West Coast Path to rocky islands just off shore

Heading down to Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsular

 

A shingly beach drops down to the seashore where two women launch a green rowing boat.

Durgan Beach on the Helford River near Falmouth

 

A harbour with small boats is surrounded by quaint old cottages

It’s worth a wander around the old streets of Polperro

Travel

Travel To Mullion

  • Arrive at Redruth train station GWR main line with Cross Country connections
  • Bus from Redruth to Mullion (via Helston): Go Cornwall route 34 (stops outside the railway station)
  • Walk to the coast from Mullion village centre

Travel From Looe

  • Train from Looe GWR branch line to Liskeard GWR main line with Cross Country connections

Ferry Crossings

I recommend section hikers do this one in summer.

*The Falmouth to St Mawes Ferry runs all year, but you need the St Mawes and Place ferry to get from Falmouth to the start of the trail on the Roseland Peninsular.

YHA And Places To Stay

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Lizard Village (just off trail)
  • Coverack
  • Falmouth
  • Portscatho
  • Mevagissey
  • Fowey
  • Polperro
  • Looe

Be Inspired!

Read Articles About Hikes And Walks Between Mullion Cove And Looe

5. Looe to Torquay: 105.1 miles

South Cornwall And South Devon

Includes part of the Jurassic Coast from Dawlish to Torquay (Devon)

A small island is seen just offshore in a cool, serene light just before sunset

Looe Island is a nature reserve that you can visit at certain times of year

 

Looking down from high cliffs to a large sandy beach. The cliffs are reddish in colour and the sea is an azure blue. People are wandering on the beach enjoying the bright summer's day.

Mattiscombe Sands (near Start Point), South Devon

 

Looking down from grassy cliff tops to a white sandy beach with dramatic cliffs in the background

Wyscombe Beach, South Devon

 

A brightly coloured 'pirate' ship in the harbour

Brixham harbour is bustling and full of colour

Travel

Travel To Looe

  • Arrive at Liskeard GWR main line with Cross Country connections
  • Train from Liskeard to Looe (GWR branch line)

Train from Torquay

  • Train from GWR branch line at Torquay to Newton Abbot GWR main line (with Cross Country connections)

Ferry Crossings

There are loads of large rivers and estuaries in this section so if you’re section hiking it’s definitely one for summer.

YHA And Places To Stay

There are no YHAs on the coast path in this section.

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Looe
  • Plymouth
  • Salcombe
  • Dartmouth
  • Brixham
  • Paignton
  • Torquay

Be Inspired!

Read Articles About Hikes And Walks Between Looe And Torquay

6. Torquay to Weymouth: 92.3 miles

South Devon and Dorset

The Jurassic Coast begins in this 100-mile section at Exmouth and the geology is just breathtaking. You hike through The Undercliff, Lyme Regis, Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland to name but a few.

 

A tall colourful clocktower with a gold pinnacle is to the left of a wide promendate - in torrential rain!

Weymouth is a large Dorset town which is the perfect place to resupply – and duck out of heavy rain!

 

a view from a limestone cliff with a spit of sand in the distance

Chesil Beach from the Isle of Portland

 

I'm standing beside a blue cut out South West Coast Path sign that says 'coast path' with a big smile on my face!

Finished! The famous blue sign that marks the end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point

Travel

Train To Torquay

  • Arrive at Newton Abbot GWR main line (with Cross Country connections)
  • Train to Torquay on the GWR branch line

Travel From Weymouth

  • Train from South Western Railway station at  Weymouth to Castle Cary Railway Station for GWR main line connections, or South Western Railway into London Waterloo (via Southhampton, Basingstoke, and Woking) for connections across the country

Ferry Crossings

*It’s also possible to get a train round the river Exe from Starcross (near Dawlish) to Exmouth, via Exeter (GWR branch lines) – especially useful if you’re hiking out of ferry season

YHA And Places To Stay

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Teignmouth
  • Dawlish
  • Sidmouth
  • Seaton
  • Lyme Regis
  • Weymouth

7. Weymouth to Poole Harbour: The Final 42.6 miles

Dorset

This section includes the final stretch of the Jurassic Coast to Old Harry Rocks, then on through Studland to the end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point (Poole Harbour).

It’s a breathtaking hike that includes iconic scenery including Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Old Harry Rocks – you won’t be disappointed even though it marks the end of the trail!

 

A row of tall Georgian houses is all shapes and bright colours line and empty, rain soaked street

Historic buildings around Weymouth Harbour

 

Sunrise over Durdle Door on the South West Coast Path in Dorset, UK

The Dorset landscape emerges through a misty sunrise as I head down to Durdle Door

 

The white chalk cliffs of Old Harry Rocks towards the end of the South West Coast PAth national trail, UK

Magnificent chalk cliffs at Old Harry Rocks

Travel

Travel To Weymouth

Travel From Poole

  • At South Haven Point, at the end of the SWCP, you cross to Poole via the Sandbanks Ferry
  • The mainline train station in Poole is run by South Western Railway, which runs to London Waterloo with connections across the country

Ferry Crossings

YHA And Places To Stay

There are no YHAs on the coast path in this section.

Resupply – Main Towns And Villages

  • Weymouth
  • Swanage
  • Poole

Be Inspired!

Read Articles About Hikes And Walks Between Weymouth And Poole Harbour

Thanks for reading Walking The Ridgeway: The Ultimate Guide To Hiking Britain’s Oldest Road! I hope you enjoyed it and found plenty of useful info for planning your own adventure but feel free to leave a comment if you’ve got a question. I’d love to help if I can.

Why not support me to write more guides? I plan to hike all of our national trails and share everything I learn with you in guides just like this. My supporters over on my Ko-fi page helped me raise funds for part of the train ticket for hiking this trail, and now I’m fundraising for the next one! You can support me for just £3 – the price of a cup of coffee (I love a cappuccino!). (Ko-fi is where I share regular mini-updates as well, head over and follow me there too, it’ll be lovely to keep in touch.)
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Another great way to help out is to share this guide on your favourite social media apps – and pin me to your favourite Pinterest board of course!

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

Happy hiking

Stephie x

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