The South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path National Trail is one of the top walks to be found anywhere in the world – there are not many places where you walk along 630 miles of such superb coastline!
The inspiration extends to the wildlife, scenery, heritage and genealogy as you venture along your chosen route. The path was originated as a route for the Coastguard to walk from one lighthouse to another to keep a patrol on impending smugglers. The guards needed a view down to each bay and cove and, as a result, the path often provides exceptional views but is therefore not the most direct route from A to B. No longer used by the Coastguard, the path is now open to recreational walkers.
Below is a list of places along the South West Coast Path.
This beautiful little bay is in the parish of St Genny, it is a small sheltered beach that slopes away gently to the sea. Crackington haven was originally a small port that imported coal and limestone and exported slate. Today it is a popular beach destination, good for swimming and surfing. However, if walking is your thing, the path to the left of the haven wends its way south towards the highest cliff in England – called High Cliff as it lies 735 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Once you have reached the top the views to be had back towards Crackington and also Boscastle are simply jaw dropping. On your journey, you will pass by The Strangles beach and Little Strand – if you have the time, stop a while to soak up the amazing quality of these small beaches that have the essence of the world of wreckers and smugglers.
Widemouth Bay is a large open bay extending for quite some distance. An interesting beach with some great rock formations and some amazing little inlets and coves – perfect for seeking out marine life in the hundreds of rock pools. The sun is on the beach almost all of the day and the sunsets are awesome. There are facilities and shops at Widemouth and Bude town is just a few minutes away.
Very sheltered and at the very North of the North Cornwall coastline, Sandy Mouth offers clean sand, rock pools for enthusiasts and rocks to climb for the brave and energetic. The cliffs in this area have many rock protrusions, which attract plenty of seabirds, affording them safe perches to from which to preen and fish. The area around Sandymouth is classed as Heritage Coast, and walking here is well worth the effort but it is prudent to be mindful of the moving tide as some stretches of this coast can be quickly isolated by the fast incoming tide and the overhanging cliffs are almost impossible to negotiate back to civilization.
The Bude coastline is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, located between Compass Cove to the south and Furzey Cove to the north. The sands and cliffs around Bude contain a calcium carbonate (a natural fertilizer); farmers used to gather sand from the beach, to spread on their fields to aid soil fertility. Indeed, a canal was built between 1819 and 1823 to carry the calcium rich sand inland to fertilize the fields. The rugged and stratified cliffs of Bude give their name to a sequence of rocks called the Bude Formation – much of which can be viewed from the South West Coast Path. Summerleaze and Crooklets beaches are both just a short walk from the town centre. At low tide, it is possible to walk to Summerleaze from Sandymouth, Northcott Mouth or Crooklets. Duckpool beach is further North, situated at the end of Coombe Valley – the National Trust runs the car park and café.
This rugged bay has a wild untamed beauty, offers an ancient quay, some of the most spectacular geology in Northern Europe, the Shipwreck and Smuggling Museum, wonderful sunsets and a beautiful sandy beach.
Open all year, it is situated right on the coast path so is easily accessible on foot. The beach itself is nothing less than spectacular in all weathers – perfect for sandcastles and strolling on a calm day together with searching for those treasures to be found in rock pools. When the weather is inclement and the waves are pounding against the craggy rocks and cliffs, it makes an interesting stroll to walk along the windswept beach to see what has been thrown up after the storm.
Phone: 01409 211236