- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Locality & Walks
North Cornwall's Atlantic coast is a dramatic and beautiful section of the south west peninsula of England. The rugged and sheer cliffs, as well as the picturesque fishing villages makes this one of the most enjoyable sections of the South West coast path.
The walking is varied, each day enjoying new experiences from beautiful sandy bays to secluded inlets harbouring quaint villages and from exposed rocky headlands to sand dunes and the wide Camel Estuary. Your self guided walking holiday starts at the bustling seaside resort of Bude before embarking on a journey through wild coastal scenery. Highlights of your walking holiday include some towering sheer cliffs including High Cliff, which at 223m is the highest coastal cliff in Cornwall; a number of well-preserved small fishing ports and villages, such as Port Isaac and Boscastle, located in secluded bays of sinuous inlets, away from the fury of the Atlantic ocean. Their white-washed cottages with slate roofs, line attractive, twisty lanes climbing the narrow coves, making for an idyllic scene. Either side of the attractive and busy medieval fishing port of Padstow on the Camel Estuary is a series of dramatic headlands which provide great views along the coast. Some of these sites such as the Rumps are the sites of Iron Age forts and other historic monuments.
If you choose the option with five walking days you can decide whether to catch a bus to the bustling surf capital of Newquay or return to Padstow for your final night's accommodation. This walk can be enjoyed out of season thanks to the mild Cornish climate, when the tourists have disappeared and you can enjoy the beautiful villages and sites by yourselves.
Day to day
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome, and night at Bude. Explore this attractive seaside resort with its canal and a favourite spot with surfers and holiday makers.
Day 2: Bude - Crackington Haven
Your first day's walking along the north Cornish coast is a relatively easy introduction to your self guided walking holiday, following the grassy cliff path along the back of the beaches from Bude to Widemouth Bay. The path soon becomes more challenging as it passes over a number of sheer cliff tops such as the magnificent cliffs at Phillip’s Point Nature Reserve, where you can try and spot grey seals. Other interesting features on this section, which in the main follows the top of cliffs, are Dizzard forest, which are the remnants from the prehistoric wood that once covered the entire country; a number of beautiful waterfalls and a series of hill tops, such as Pencannow and Castle Point. These cliff tops provide magnificent views along the coast as well as inland as far as the Tors of Dartmoor. The path then descends to the enclosed bay of Crackington Haven - with its tiny village which was once an important local port. 16km, +/-810m
Day 3: Crackington Haven - Tintagel
A superb and challenging days walking. You'll climb away from Crackington and pass above the isolated beaches of the Strangles and their rocky shelves and promontories. Later you'll get breathtaking views from the seat on the highest cliff in Cornwall: High Cliff, at over 700ft (223 metres). These towering cliffs make a great place to bird watch with birds of prey such as Falcons and Kestrels and sea birds including puffins, guillemots and razorbills. In addition, the grazing sheep and goats help to maintain a rich flora which a number of important wild flowers. Boscastle, with its ancient harbour, is a beautiful fishing village in the bottom of a rugged, steep sided valley, which is especially remembered for the devastating flash flood in August 2004. Other highlights on this wonderful days walking is Pentargon inlet where an impressive waterfall plummets 40m into the sea. Just after, the path continues around the cliffs to Penally Point, which has a blow hole and provides spectacular views. You'll finish the day at Tintagel, its rocky promontory being the site of a Roman settlement and a Celtic fortress, with its castle ruins dating from the 13th century and being the reputed birthplace of King Arthur. The pretty village includes a 14th century building used as a post office since the 19th century. 18km, +/-1230m
Day 4: Tintagel - Port Isaac
Your walking trail takes you reasonably gently away from Tintagel along a section of coast which historically was significant for fishing and slate extraction and there are remnants of these trades to be seen on the Coast Path, such donkey tracks around Backway’s Cove and an incredible rock pinnacle left by the quarryman behind Hole Beach. The day then becomes decidedly more strenuous as you climb and descend a series of hills and valleys. Your walking trail descends to the beautiful beaches at Trebarwith Strand with their turquoise waters, lovely sandy beaches, rock pools and sheltering cliffs. The undulating nature of this rugged coastline is well illustrated by your climb from sea level to the top of Dennis Point (300ft, 90m), where you can take in the views before dropping straight back down to sea level. View points such as this and Bounds Cliff are excellent places for bird watching. You'll then continue along the cliffs past the sleepy little harbour of Port Gaverne, once an important fishing port, before reaching the quaint and unspoiled fishing village of Port Isaac. This wonderful village surrounding a picturesque bay has a network of alleyways lined by white-washed historic cottages, including one narrow lane called ‘Squeeze-ee-belly’. 15km, +/-835m
Day 5 Port Isaac - Padstow
Today your walking trail follows a beautiful and unspoiled section of Cornwall's coastal path, including the remote inlet of Pine Haven, the natural harbour at Port Quin (with its partly deserted village) and the historic promontory, known as The Rumps, with its Iron Age fort. The first half of today's walk is challenging as the Cornish coastal path winds it way around a number of spectacular headlands which offer stunning panoramas, as well as traversing several valleys where you'll find pretty coves. Other highlights of this section include the spectacular views from Carnweather Point towards the Rumps and from Pentire Point across the Camel Estuary, as well as the beautiful Lundy Beach with its rock pools, caves and the natural arch called Lundy Hole. The trail then becomes easier as it passes through Polzeath to reach the sandy beaches of Daymer Bay and the 13th century St Enodoc's Church. The path winds through the sand dunes that move over time, before catching the ferry to the historic port of Padstow with its bustling harbour and medieval buildings. 19km, +855m
The shorter 4 day walking option finishes at Padstow, with your holiday ending after breakfast on day 6
Day 6: Padstow - Porthcothan
This optional day's walk allows you to enjoy a series of headlands following relatively low cliff tops, above beautiful tempting beaches such as Hawkers Cove. Heading north along the Camel Estuary, you'll go around Stepper Point back onto the Atlantic Coast before heading out to Trevone Head, one of Cornwall’s most prominent headlands offering wonderful views down the coast ahead. Constantine Bay offers a different experience with a lovely beach where you can relax and watch the surfers before moving onto Porthcothan. You'll then catch a bus from Porthcothan to either Newquay or Padstow. It is also possible to catch a bus at earlier and later stops to make this day longer or shorter as desired. 22km, +/-770m
Day 7: Departure
Departure after breakfast
See other walking holidays along the south west coastal path - Jurassic Coast Dorset - South Cornwall Coast: Historic Ports and Fishing Villages
Accommodation & Meals
This independent walking holiday in Cornwall includes a range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible, we choose guest houses which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation. Below you'll find an example of the type of guest house we use.
To get to Bude
Train journey from London Paddington or Waterloo to Exeter. Stagecoach run buses betweeen Exeter and Bude (6 & 6A). The bus journey takes about 1hr 50, whilst the train from London Paddington to Exeter St Davids takes just over 2 hours.
To Return from Padstow
There is a regular bus service between Padstow and Bodmin Parkway rail station which takes about 50mins and is run by Plymouth City Bus (11A). It runs roughly once per hour. Trains from Bodmin Parway to London Paddington take about 4 hours (with some departures requiring a change of trains).
To return from Newquay
Newquay has a rail station. Journeys to London take upwards of 5 hours, with changes at Par and sometimes at Plymouth.
More travel information will be provided with your walking holiday information pack