A Quick Guide to the South West Coast Path (SWCP)
A 630mile (1014km) walking route following the coast path from Minehead in Somerset around Cornwall and Devon and along the Jurassic coast to Poole Harbour in Dorset. Although most people will choose to walk particular sections of the trail, for many it is one of the ‘must do’ long distance walks. With dramatic cliffs, seals and dolphins, secluded coves, and sandy beaches, it is of no surprise that the South West Coast Path is one of the most coveted long distance trails in the UK.
The average time taken to do the whole trail is 7-8 weeks and despite being so close to the sea the route climbs an impressive 35,000 metres of ascent! On sections of the trail it is quite possible that you will do more ‘uphill’ than ticking peaks in the mountains!
The route is well trodden and generally clearly signposted, however taking (and using) maps is definitely recommended. Not only do they help in terms of navigation, but locating your position on the map can help to give a sense of perspective in terms of where you are on your journey, and they help to reveal the stacks of interesting landmarks and coastal features along the way.
Relevant Guide Books and Maps for the South West Coast Path
The full route is available on the following maps of the OS Landranger Series, or perhaps more conveniently on the Harveys Trail Specific Maps also shown below.
Ordnance Survey Landranger Maps for the South West Coast Path
Harveys Maps for the South West Coast Path
Not sure which set of maps to get?
It’s worth considering whether you’re planning to do more walking and exploring in the South West. The Ordnance Survey (OS) Landranger series provides a 1:50,000 scale coverage of large areas. If you piece all of the OS maps listed above together you will pretty much have a set of maps that cover the whole of the West Country which is great if you’re going to be spending time in the area. However, as nice as it may be to have a complete set of West Country maps sat on your book shelf they’re not that much use to use if you only plan to do the South West Coast Path! It’s also a pretty expensive, bulky approach. Harveys offer an alternative with their 1:40,000 trail specific map set. The map coverage is only focused on the trail but this means they’re less bulky and you need less of them!
Only planning to do one or two sections of the trail?
Below you’ll find a quick overview of which maps are relevant for which sections of the South West Coast Path.
Ordnance Survey (OS) Map Number Relevant for Coastal Section(S)
OS Landranger 181 = Minehead to Porlock Weir; Section 1
OS Landranger 180 = Porlock Weir to Westward Ho!; Section 2 – Section 7
OS Landranger 190 = Westward Ho! to Crackington Haven; Section 8 – 11
OS Landranger 200 = Crackington Haven to Perranporth; Section 12 – Section 17
OS Landranger 203 = Perranporth to the Lizard; Section 18 – Section 26
OS Landranger 204 = The Lizard to Par; Section 27 – Section 32
OS Landranger 201 = Par to Wembury Point; Section 33 – Section 36
OS Landranger 202 = Wembury Point to Exmouth; Section 37 – Section 43
OS Landranger 192 = Exmouth to Seaton; Section Section 44 – Section 45
OS Landranger 193 = Seaton to Abbotsbury; Section 46 – Section 47
OS Landranger 194 = Abbotsbury to Lulworth Cove; Section 48 – Section 50
OS Landranger 195 = Lulworth Cove to South Haven Point; Section 51 – Section 52
Harvey Map Number Relevant for Coastal Section(s)
Harveys South West Coast Path 1 = Minehead to Bude; Section 1 – Section 10
Harveys South West Coast Path 2 = Bude to Portreath; Section 11 – Section 18
Harveys South West Coast Path 3 = Portreath to Lizard Point; Section 19 – Section 26
Harveys South West Coast Path 4 = Lizard Point to Plymouth; Section 27 – Section 35
Harveys South West Coast Path 5 = Plymouth to Sidmouth; Section 36 – Section 44
Harveys South West Coast Path 6 = Sidmouth to South Haven Point; Section 45 – Section 52
Adventure Information Packs – Free to Download
Adventure Information Pack Part One provides a general overview of the trail, together with useful information about what to expect, when to do the trail and where further information can be obtained. Part Two provides Section Specific details from Section One of the South West Coast Path through to Section Twenty Six (Minehead to the Lizard). This includes maps, height gain and loss, where to obtain weather forecasts, relevant ferry times and contact details, together with notes sections for you to use as you complete the trail. Part Three of the Adventure Information Pack provides the equivalent details for Section Twenty Seven of the Trail through to the end, Section Fifty Two (the Lizard to South Haven Point).
If you need any more temptation to explore sections of the South West Coast Path then take a look at Dean Carter’s short film of South West Coast Path snippets…
Photos of the South West Coast Path
Have you walked along the South West Coast Path? Did you take any photos when you were there? If you have photos of this trail we would love to see them. Not only do we enjoy seeing snapshots of your adventures but it is also really handy for people who are yet to go to the adventure locations to get an idea of what a place is like. So if you would be happy to share your snaps then please send them in to us using the upload buttons below. Please remember to give the location and any other key details for each photo in the ‘Description’ box. The location is vital so that we can be sure to place your photos in the right gallery. Adding your name in the ‘Description’ box is also handy as it means we can give you a holler to say thanks.
Heading for the South West Coast Path? Make your trip complete…
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