St Ives to Plymouth – the west section of the South West Coast Path.
The western section of the South West Coast Path covers 170 miles of glorious coast from St Ives to Plymouth. Most of this section is based in the county of Cornwall, and you will be walking along the Cornish coastline.
Great British Walks have split this 630-mile National Trail into 3 sections. This should make your walking holiday choices, a lot easier! We have lots of options available. If you don’t see what you want, just ask, and we can create a bespoke walking itinerary for you.
The South West Coast Path is based on the south west peninsula of England in the British Isles. The coastline is truly spectacular, with so much scenery and wildlife, flora and fauna to admire. Depending on the time of year you choose to walk, you will be in for a treat regardless. Most people will have heard of ‘Lands End’, which you will walk past on this section of the trail. Lands End was the starting point for the Olympic torch in our 2012 Olympics.
The coastal scenery ranges from high rugged cliffs to sandy beaches, dunes and marshland. If geology is your thing, then rocks on the Lizard peninsula are some 490 million years old (give or take a few years!). Coastal cliff faces displaying contorted beds of rock. Tin, lead and copper mining in this area was borne from the metal bearing veins in the rocks.
The woody shrub called ‘gorse’ blazes with yellow flowers through the summer. You may spot ornamental palms in gardens which are non-native, but happy to thrive in the warm south west conditions. You will certainly spot sea campion, and sea pinks on a daily basis. Here a few more flowers you are likely to see - wild garlic, bluebells, spring squill, primrose, anemone, bee orchids, comfy and toadflax! Here at Great British Walks we have lots of photos that clients have sent in displaying many of these varieties.
The South West Coast Path is well signposted and way-marked with the National Trail Acorn symbol, from start to finish. You will also have the occasional path side information board which will highlight some of the species that you might be lucky to spot. Did you know you can see basking sharks off the Cornish coast? There are also seals and dolphin pods to see, if you are really, really lucky.
There are hundreds of species of birds along the South West Coast Path, so birdwatchers will find plenty to distract them along the trail. Again, look out for the information boards along the path. Of course, no seaside walk would be without the gulls, but you should also expect to see divers, skuas, puffins, gannets and shearwaters. Sandpipers and avocets, oystercatchers and greenshanks. Goodness, you birdwatchers will be busy.
Onto food, if you have walked from Devon into Cornwall, you should note that your pastie will be crimped differently! Side crimping in Cornwall vs. top crimping in Devon. Whilst with a cream tea, things get complicated. Jam or cream on your scone first. At Great British Walks, we truly don’t mind how our pasties are crimped, so long as we get some.
So, golden sands, clear turquoise waters, rocky cliffs, abundant wildlife, pretty coastlines and castles, fishing villages, seafood, vibrant towns and tranquil coves… what are you waiting for. Book your next walking holiday on the South West Coast Path with Great British Walks. We will provide you with a fabulous walking holiday pack, transfer your luggage, and will happily wait to see any pictures you send us of your cream teas.
You can also request further information about all our walking holidays by completing our enquiry form.
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