Explore the natural beauty of north Devon and Somerset on the South West Coast Path.
This self-guided walking tour of the South West Coast Path in western Somerset and northern Devon allows you the freedom to explore this beautiful stretch of English coastline on foot.
From the sweeping views of the Exmoor National Park to the rugged cliffs of the coast, this tour is a natural feast for your senses. There is also plenty of history to be encountered along the way in historic buildings from the 14th Century and on to places of more recent significance.
Enjoy meals in cozy cafes and pubs in the small villages that line the coast, and end each day with a comfortable night in a local guesthouse where you’ll receive personal service from your friendly hosts. The South West Coast Path Somerset and Devon walking tour is an incredible holiday getaway that you won’t soon forget!
Highlights of South West Coast Path: Somerset and Devon
South West Coast Path: Somerset and Devon Walking Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Minehead
Welcome to Somerset and the town of Minehead! If you’re arriving by train, the closest station is Taunton. Now a popular tourist destination, Minehead was once an important harbor. In the 18th Century, ships from all over, even as far as the Americas, sailed to Minehead. You can still see the original harbor wall from this period, or perhaps choose to explore the old St. Michael’s Church which was built in the 14th Century. If you arrive early enough, there is plenty to do in Minehead before your walking tour begins.
Overnight Location: Minehead
Day 2 Walk to Porlock Weir
Start your walk at the very beginning of the South West Coast Path. Follow the coastline on the trail with a pebble beach below, then continue slightly inland at Greenaleigh Farm through a wooded part of the trail. You’ll enjoy the colorful ground carpeted with yellow, pink and purple flowers on the gorse and heather that grow there.
You can also choose to follow and alternative, “rugged coast path” that leads from Bossington all the way to Porlock if you wish to. Highlights of this route include fantastic views from Selworthy Beacon as well as a coastguard lookout tower at Hurlstone Point. Walk through the lovely village of Bossington, where you’ll pass an array of cottages and thatched buildings that are preserved by the National Trust. Finally, you’ll come to the small village of Porlock Weir, where you’ll spend the night. When the tide is out, watch for ancient tree stumps which are completely hidden during high tide.
Overnight Location: Porlock Weir
Distance: 10 miles / 16 km
Day 3 Walk to Lynmouth
Leave Porlock Weir on the trail by the beach, climbing immediately past the “toll houses” at Worthy. Here you can choose to follow the main coast path which meanders through a wooded area and offers limited views, or you can choose an alternative route from Culbone to Sugarloaf Hill that offers more sea views. While the alternative route is actually longer, it takes about the same time to walk it. The ups and downs of this path are very gentle, only ascending or descending about 50-150 m.
You leave Somerset today as you cross the county line into Devon. Follow the trail along the headland at Foreland Point and you’ll come to the connected villages of Lynmouth and Lynton. Spend the night in Lynmouth, the village that sits at the mouth of the River Lyn, appropriately enough.
Overnight Location: Lynmouth
Distance: 11 miles / 18 km
Day 4 Walk to Combe Martin
Follow the South West Coast Path from Lynmouth along the coast at the harbor, then head inland as the trail takes you to the Valley of Rocks and continues to Mother Meldrum’s Cave
The SWCP hugs the coastline to Highveer Point, where it heads inland again. Climb up the wooded slope and you’ll come to Heddon’s Mouth, then the trail turns back toward the coast as you go back down into the valley. Continue to follow the coastline, enjoying a number of overlooks on your way to the Great Hangman. This cairn marks the high point of the South West Coast Path. Look inland from here for a view across Exmoor where you can often see ponies. Looking out toward the sea, if the weather is clear you can see the Island of Lundy, and sometimes all the way to Wales. Continue walking until you reach Combe Martin, where you will stop for the night.
Overnight Location: Combe Martin
Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.5 km
Day 5 Walk to Woolacombe
Leave Combe Martin and climb away from the beach up Seaside Hill until you come to Watermouth. Continue to Ilfracombe, and enter the town by the natural harbor that the town is built around. From Ilfracombe, head toward Capstone Point, the follow the path along the cliff line to Lee Bay. After passing the Bull Point Lighthouse, continue to hug the coastline west to Morte Point where you can look out and see Morte Stone. The path then turns to the south and brings you to the popular tourist destination of Woolacombe, known for exceptional beaches and great surfing.
Overnight Location: Woolacombe
Distance: 14 miles / 22.5 km
Day 6 Walk to Braunton
If you are starting to get tired, then the easier route today will be a welcome relief. As you leave Woolacombe, choose between continuing on the SWCP along the top of the cliffs or walking across the sandy beach below. Check the tide schedule as you decide, since high tide will chase you back to the deep, soft sand that is challenging to walk on.
You’ll follow the cliff line throughout most of the day, rounding Baggy Point and passing through the village of Croyde and the enticing Croyde Bay. Continue walking along the sand dunes and cliffs, coming to Saunton and Saunton Down. Be sure to stay close the marked path from here, as you will be in the near vicinity of a military training area. Walk inland toward Braunton, past the River Caen and Horsey Island. You can also explore Braunton Burrows, which is a National Nature Reserve that protects one of Britain’s largest sand dune systems. Spend the night in Braunton.
Overnight Location: Braunton
Distance: 15.25 miles / 24.5 km
Day 7 Walk to Barnstaple then Westward Ho!
On this longest day of the tour, you may choose to shorten your route, either by taking a taxi or bus for part of the distance (at your own expense), or by splitting the planned route over two days, with an extra night in Barnstaple along the way.
From Braunton, follow the River Caen until it meets the River Taw, then follow the path along the River Taw from Braunton further inland to Barnstaple. Barnstaple was a walled Saxon stronghold, and it’s where you’ll find a bridge across the river.
Return to the coast on the southern side of the river, passing the towns of Fremington and Bideford along the way. When you reach the coast, you’ll find yourself in the town of Westward Ho!, a seaside resort from the 19th Century that was named from the title of a novel set nearby, and which remains the only English place that includes an exclamation point in its name. Spend the night in this unique town.
Overnight Location: Westward Ho!
Distance: 23.25 miles / 37.5 km
Day 8 Walk to Clovelly
As you continue on the South West Coast Path, it begins to take on the character of a roller coaster. Following the cliffs through rural farmland, be prepared for a lot of ups and downs along the whole route today. There are beautiful views all along this route as you walk to Clovelly. When you come to Clovelly, follow the steep, cobblestone High Street down into the village. Take note of the small alleys between the houses and the Quay from the 14th Century. Stop here for the night.
Overnight Location: Clovelly
Distance: 11.5 miles / 18.5 km
Day 9 Walk to Hartland Quay
Follow the path out of Clovelly. The path eventually rises over Shipload Bay, and you should soon see a radar tower that is currently used for air traffic control, though it was originally built for military uses. When you come to Hartland Point, look for the lovely white lighthouse from 1874. You can also find good views of this lighthouse further along the trail at the Glenart Castle Memorial, which was erected in 2002 on the 84th anniversary of the Glenart Castle being torpedoed. Cross Upright Cliff and pass a little waterfall, then climb out of the valley near Damehole Point. Pause to take in the spectacular scenery and continue to enjoy the stunning cliff faces as you follow the coast to Hartland Quay, where you will stop for the night. Though this tiny village offers limited amenities, you’ll find places to eat and drink, and even a small museum.
Overnight Location: Hartland Quay
Distance: 10.25 miles / 16.5 km
Day 10 Walk to Bude
End your journey with one of the toughest and most dramatic sections of the whole South West Coast Path. It is recommended to get an early start today to allow time to take breaks throughout the day. Since this stretch of the trail is known for its abundant waterfalls, you will have plenty of picturesque places to rest along the way.
Shortly after leaving Hartland Quay you’ll come to the first of many waterfalls, at Speke’s Mill Mouth. Continue along the path, which is lined with lovely gorse bushes, and you’ll come to Sandhole Cliff. Look for historic sites in this area, including the old Marshland Mouth mill and Embury Beacon’s earthen ramparts. Cross the county line into Cornwall, which you’ll see marked as “Kernow”. Cornwall welcomes you with a series of hills. First, climb steeply to reach the top of Marsland Cliff, then trace the coast along a series of cliffs until you reach Bude. All along the path you’ll find access points to head down into the small bays or beaches if you want to stop and enjoy these areas. Bude is a popular seaside resort that was once a busy trading port thanks to its canal and railway access. Spend your last night of the tour in the lovely town of Bude.
Overnight Location: Bude
Distance: 15.25 miles / 24.5 km
Day 11 Departure Day
Sadly, your tour of the South West Coast Path in Devon and Somerset has come to an end. Catch a bus to Exeter and continue your travels home from there. Have a pleasant journey!
Overnight Location: N/A
South West Coast Path: Devon and Somerset Walking Tour Price and Dates
Pricing for this self-guided walking tour in Southwest England is based on the number of guests on your trip. The best time to travel to Devon and Somerset for this tour is during the warmer months from May to September, but the trip is available year-round.
Prices for Self-guided South West Coast Path: Devon and Somerset Walking Tour
Prices below are per person:
- Self-Guided Group of 1: $2,075 USD per person
- Self-Guided Groups of 2-4: $1,225 USD per person
- Self-Guided Groups of 5+: $1,195 USD per person
Accommodation on the South West Coast Path: Devon and Somerset Walking Tour
This tour is based in 3-4-star hotels and bed and breakfasts. In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.
Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $650 USD to have a private room in a hotel.
Hotels on Standard Tour
The Old Ship Aground, Minehead ★★★★
The Old Ship Aground is a local historic landmark with a lovely harbor view that has been refurbished to suit all your needs. All their food is locally sourced.
Ash Farm, Porlock Weir (Bed and Breakfast)
Ash Farm is a cozy, centuries-old farmhouse set apart in the rolling green hills. Expect great views and charming accommodations.
Shelley’s Hotel, Lynmouth ★★★★
Enjoy the Shelley’s unique and elegant atmosphere and the stunning bay views from this award-winning hotel in Exmoor National Park.
Channel Vista, Combe Martin (Bed and Breakfast)
South West Coast Path walkers and locals alike feel at home at the Channel Vista. Enjoy the clean, brightly decorated rooms and the beautiful local scenery.
Downland House, Woolacombe (Bed and Breakfast)
You might never want to leave the comfort of your room at the Downland House, with spacious king-sized beds, balcony views of the sea, the beach, or the gorgeous countryside.
The Brookfield, Braunton (Bed and Breakfast)
The exterior is classic 18th Century Georgian, but the interior has contemporary 21st Century style and comfort. Enjoy relaxing in the conservatory with lovely views of the garden.
Mayfield House, Westward Ho! (Bed and Breakfast)
Find out why the guests at the Mayfield House rave about the overwhelming hospitality of their hostess and the wonderful quality of the breakfasts.
Pillowery Park, Clovelly ★★★
This wonderful gem of a hotel was built in 2000 with an aim to be environmentally friendly. The hosts are accustomed to welcoming South West Coast Path walkers.
Great Philham House, Hartland Quay (Bed and Breakfast)
The Great Philham House is a lovely old building, masterfully restored and renovated to meet the needs of modern guests.
The Budehaven, Bude ★★★★
The hosts of the Budehaven go above and beyond to make their guests feel at home. It is a perfect location within easy walking distance of both the beach and shops.
What’s included in the South West Coast Path: Devon and Somerset Walking Tour?
10 breakfasts included with accommodations. Lunches, dinners and drinks are not included.
Accommodations for 10 nights along the tour. Extra nights may be added for an additional fee.
- Luggage Transfers
- Full Tour Pack with color-coded routes on local map
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
- Extra night in Minehead or Bude: $150 USD per room
- Extra night in Barnstaple, between day 7 and 8: $150 USD per room
Frequently Asked Questions about South West Coast Path: Somerset and Devon
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