There are so many considerations when walking the South West Coast Path. We have asked our in-office experts for their list of Frequently Asked Questions, and you can check the answers out below.
Which Section should I walk?
Here at Macs Adventure, we have split the whole South West Coast Path into manageable chunks so that you can fit different sections into your different timeframes. The section that is for you would depend on what you want to see and do. While many offer the same outstanding scenery and coastal wonder, there are a few sections that differ depending on food preference, highlights or simply just the length of time it takes. For more in-depth information on this, you can read our blog - South West Coastal Path Walks - Which One is For Me?
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the South West Coast Path can get really busy, especially during the summer months. You will find up to date availability on our website, and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
How fit do I need to be?
We offer a range of routes and often multiple itineraries on each, so you can choose your preferred daily distance. Hopefully, you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle, we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least six months before your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme. For a more precise idea about fitness, read our blog post - Training Tips for the South West Coast Path
What is the Ascent/Decent like on the route?
The story is that if you walk the entire route, then you will have ascended the equivalent of summiting Mt Everest four times. This makes the route sound impossible, but altogether it is not that bad. There are some short sharp shocks (Golden Cap on the Lyme Regis to Poole section) and some drawn-out slogs (like Little Hangman on the Minehead to Westward Ho! section) The walking does involve dropping down from the clifftops into the towns and villages and then obviously climbing back up out of them. However with a decent level of fitness, you will get through this no problem at all and as always, the views from the top are well worth it.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. You can see a full kit list and some hints and tips on our blog post - What should I pack for the South West Coast Path?
When is the best time of year?
Our particular favourite time of year is Spring, so from late March to early June, as many different wildflowers begin to appear along the clifftops. There is also an enchanting soft light at this time of year, which adds to the spectacle of the route.
The summer months can be warm and the towns along the route are full of life, but it can be a bit busy for some peoples tastes. Also, availability is a bit tighter during the summer months, so if you are booking for this period, early booking is recommended.
Autumn brings warm seas and a more relaxed atmosphere. Surfers hang on from the summer to catch the warmer autumn waves and the whole region just has this air of winding down and relaxing.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as most of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
There is generally a very good local bus service right around the South West Coast Path, so should you feel like you can't walk one of the days, you can check the Traveline SW website and it will let you know exactly where and when to catch a local bus. Also, you can speak to your hosts. Everyone we work with on the path are lovely and full of local information, so they will be able to help you organise your trip.
Where can I find the best scenery on the South West Coast Path?
This is a question that we get asked a lot and to be honest the answer is a tricky one. The whole coastline is a ribbon of undulating beauty, punctuated with lovely little towns and villages. The most popular sections are around the tip of the peninsula, from Padstow to St Ives and St Ives to Penzance. However along the northern coast, there are jagged sea stacks and tranquil nature reserves and on the southern coast, the Jurassic Coast with all its ancient splendour is littered with interesting places to visit.
So, I would say to put the idea of great scenery aside, as you are guaranteed it no matter which section you choose to walk.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help you.