This is the first of about eight trips away to complete the entire South West Coast path. We start walking at Minehead in Somerset and follow the first part of the North Devon coast around as far as Barnstaple. The entire expedition runs from Saturday to Thursday the following week.
The deposit covers the following expenses:
- Return rail journey from London Paddington = £50.
- Deposit for bed and breakfast at five B&B / hotels = £86
- Luggage transportation for the whole route = £25
These have all been booked and paid by the organizer. There is no additional organizer fee to pay for this event.
After this, the expenses that you will have on the trip away itself are:
- The balance of the B&B / hotel accommodation = £94 in total
- Lunches, evening meals, drinks and incidental expenses
The start date and time is the arrival time at Paddington station to get the train to Taunton. The connecting bus service on to Minehead is included in the ticket.
The end date and time is the time of arrival back at Paddington on a morning train from Barnstaple.
General information about doing the South West Coast Path with the group.
If you are signed up for this event please read this Planning Update.
Saturday May 17th
I have booked group travel out on the 9:06 am train from Paddington to Minehead via Tauton, arriving at 12:31 pm. This includes a bus connection from Taunton to Minehead.
I have arranged the luggage transfer company to pick up your luggage from the bus station for transfer to the accommodation in Porlock.
Section 1 - Minehead to Porlock
9 miles. Ascent 2070 feet, Descent 1990 feet.
Maps: Part 1, Part 2
Notes for today:
1) Some of the Coast Path signs on this section had been broken off the post when I was there in July last year. You need to follow the broken off sign if it hasn't yet been replaced.
2) The route splits shortly after the car park at Burgundy Chapel Combe into an easy inland and a longer rugged coastal path and rejoins at Hurlstone Combe shortly before Bossington.
3)There is one very steep descent. Take it slowly.
4) There is a nice café at Bossington, a mile or two before Porlock.
5) The Ship Inn Hotel in Porlock serves fantastic local cider and is also a good place to have dinner.
6) It is advisable to buy some lunch for the next day at some point, or order a packed lunch from the guest house.
Sunday May 18th
Section 2 - Porlock to Lynmouth
13.5 miles. Ascent 4120 feet. Descent 4160 feet.
Maps: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
This is a good second day because at least half is in woodland through which you see the sea down below the steep drop, and it doesn't have the really tough long ascents of the next two days. Quite a lot of it is level.
Note: The most important thing is that there is no convenient lunch stop on this day. Either get a packed lunch from your B&B the previous night or buy something in advance.
Monday May 19th
Section 3 - Lynmouth to Combe Martin
14.5 miles. Ascent 4150 feet, Descent 4140 feet.
Maps: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Two important notes for today:
1) Take the inland route which continues on the lane after Lee Abbey, rather than the pointless strictly coastal path out to Crock Point, which simply provides a strenuous descent and ascent through waist-high nettles with very little added value in terms of scenery.
2) After descending into Heddon Valley carry on upstream to Hunter's Inn for lunch, then it's best to cross the stream on the road and turn off sharp onto the path the other side rather going back downstream to the footbridge.
Tuesday May 20th
Section 4 - Combe Martin to Croyde
18 miles. Ascent 4470 feet, Descent 4490 feet.
Maps: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
This is the most gruelling day as there are very long steep climbs up from sea level out of Hele, Ilfracombe, Lee Bay and one or two other places. Towards the end the coast flattens out nicely. And it's the longest distance, so get an early start.
Some notes for today:
1) At Watermouth the path takes you into the harbour and then along the left side on the slippery rocks. At high tide this may not be possible and you have to go around on the road until you see the gate down to the path on the right.
2) Don't stop in Ilfracombe, or only briefly. A fantastic place for lunch and a drink at about half way is the Grampus Inn a little bit inland at Lee village. Take a left-hand path before you drop down to the village, otherwise you have to turn back past the car park and another 400 yards.
Wednesday May 21st
Section 5 - Croyde to Barnstaple
15 Miles. Ascent 680 feet, Descent 740 feet
Maps: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
1) It is a good idea to obtain a packed lunch. Alternatively you could stop for a late lunch in Braunton.
2) Croyde Beach is quite difficult to negotiate in boots. You may want to do this part in bare feet.
3) The path splits for a while at Saunton into a low route with amenities and a high one with the one very stiff climb of the day and no amenities but good views. They're about the same distance. Take your preference.
4) Just after crossing under Taw Bridge as you're entering Barnstaple take the left fork off the main path alongside a rugby club. This winds round a tributary of the main river to Pilton Park and the hotel.
Thursday May 22nd
It's a one mile walk or taxi ride from the hotel to the railway station through the centre of town, across Long Bridge and onwards.
The complete Joined Up Hiking schedule