South West Coast Path

In the deep south west.

This page describes the South West Coast Path and stages undertaken to date. The path is well described elsewhere (see references below).

This path terminates in the north at Minehead and in the south at the Sandbanks ferry. A logical continuation of the path eastwards from here is the South Coast Path - east of Sandbanks.

2013: Sidmouth, Devon. - the Devon-Dorset Jurassic Coast has some spectacular scenery.

Description of the path

The South West Coast Path is probably as well known as the Pennine Way and is well documented in the links below. It covers over 1000 km around the coasts of Devon, Cornwall, Dorest and Somerset.

It is also a physical geological textbook with a spectrum of rock types that result in some spectacular and outstanding scenery especially in the World heritage Site ie the Jurassic Coast.

One of the benefits of coast paths is the the walker reaches locations that few holiday makers will ever get to and some of these places are very special indeed.

We cover a stage at least once a month and walking the coast all year round one is a witness to the seasons along the coast as well as in the resorts. Migrations happen in both domains: the contrast of high summer with mid-winter can be hard to believe at times.

The main places clockwise from Sandbanks ferry are: Swanage, Lulworth Cove, Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Dalwish, Teignmouth, Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Loue, Polperro, Fowey, Charlestown, Mevagisse, Gorran Haven, St Mawes, Falmouth, Helford Estuary, Porthhoustock, Coverack, The Lizard, Porthleven, Marazion, Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole, Lands End, Sennen Cove, St Ives, Hayle, Portreath, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Newquay, Padstow, Port Isaac, Tintagel, Bude, Hartland Point, Westward Ho!, Bideford, Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Lynton and Minehead.

From Hampshire we have completed all the stages that can be dine in a day and are now walking these in the opposite direction. Those deeper into the peninsula require longer trips.

South West Coast Path Stats

1. Overall

Topic Info comment
Terminus Minehead
Terminus Sandbanks ferry point
Total Distance [km] 1,014 [see note below]
Lowest point beaches 2 m [amsl]
Highest point Great Hangman, Combe Martin 318 m [amsl]


  • The "official distance" is not a final statement and will always be an underestimate.
  • There are several recent extentsuions to the path eg the Royal William Yard at Plymouth.
  • GPS distances often reveal distances 10% longer than the guidebook states.
  • There will always be diversion due to our crymbling coastline - these invariably add distance

2. Stages Completed

The stages below are stages completed to date and follow a clockwise order along the coast from Sandbanks. The distance is taken from the gps track data.

Stage Distance Terrain
Sandbanks-Swanage 12.7 km coast-moderate
Swanage-Chapman's Pool 15.5 km coast-moderate
Chapman's Pool-Lulworth Cove 19.3km coast-hilly
Lulworth Cove-Weymouth- 18.4 km coast-hilly
Weymouth-Southwell 21.0 km coast-moderate
Southwell-Ferrybridge 7.5 km coast-moderate
Ferrybridge-Abbotsbury 18.0 km coast-flat
Abbotsbury-West Bay 14.9 km coast-moderate
West Bay-Lyme Regis 17.5 km coast-hilly
Lyme Regis-Seaton 13.0 km coast-moderate
Seaton-Sidmouth 16.4 km coast-hilly
Sidmouth-Exmouth 20.0 km coast-hilly
Exmouth-Dawlish Warren 5.1km coast-flat
Dawlish Warren-Teignmouth 8.3 km coast-moderate
Teignmouth-Babbacombe 11.1 km coast-moderate
Babbacombe-Torquay 10.1 km coast-hilly
Torquay-Brixham 12.7 km coast-moderate
Brixham-Dartmouth 18.4 km coast-hilly
Dartmouth-Strete 10.5 km coast-hilly
Strete-Torcross 5.8 km coast-moderate
Torcross-Salcombe 21.8 km coast-hilly
Salcombe-Bantham 24.2 km coast-moderate
Bantham-Mothecombe 11.0 km coast-hilly
Mothecombe-Warren Point [Wembury] 14.4 km coast-moderate
Warren Point [Wembury]-Plymouth [Mount Batten] 12.1 km coast-moderate
Plymouth: Mount Batten-Plymouth [Cremyll Ferry] 14.1 km coast-flat
Plymouth [Cremyll Ferry]-Tregantle Fort 18.7 km coast-moderate
Tregantle Fort-Looe 16.4 km coast-hilly
Looe-Polperro 8.2 km coast-hilly
Polperro-Fowey 11.9 km coast-hilly
Fowey-Charlestown 17.8 km coast-moderate
St Mawes-Falmouth 4.8 km coast-flat
Falmouth-Rosemullion Point 7.7 km coast-flat
Marazion-Newlyn 7.9km coast-flat
Newlyn-Mousehole 3.0km coast-flat
Zennor - St Ives 9.8 km coast-hilly
St Ives-Mexico Towans 14.8 km coast-moderate
Perranporth-Newquay [Gannel] 17.1 km coast-flat
Newquay: Gannel-Harbour 8.3km coast-moderate
Newquay [Harbour Ent]-Porthcothan 18.3km coast-moderate
Westward Ho!-Instow 20.2 km coast-flat
Woolacombe-Ilfracombe 13.6 km coast-hilly
Ilfracombe-Combe Martin 9.6 km coast-hilly

Stages in Dorset and east Devon are also being walked a second time - on this occasion in the opposite direction.

Some of the shorter stages around Weymouth have been consolidated.

3. Percent and total distance walked to date

The plan is to complete the path.

Completed % Who Distance Year Notes
57% completed HM&KM 580 km 2009 - 2017 several stages east of Brixham have been completed in both directions

Points of Interest

Stair Hole, Lulworth Lulworth Cove: - stunning rock folding here where the sea is making good progress in getting beyond this ridge and to the foot of the chalk scarp. Recent landslips at the back of the cove testify.
Brixham Brixham: - known as a fishing village but it has been the scene of politics as well.
Penzance from Newlyn Harbour Penzance - the walk from Marazion is relatively flat along this part of the coast.
Newquay: Great Western Beach Newquay - the wide bays and headlands make for dramatic coast here. There is often wind off the Atlantic - which the surfers enjoy.
Bideford Bideford: - the Old Bridge over the River Torridge. The quay at Bideford was once a busy port.

Getting there - access

From Hampshire stages east of Brixham are all generally determined by public transport access. This part of the path is well served by rail - with stations in most cases being within a 20 minute walk to the coast or a short bus ride. This makes it very easy to get off at one station, walk the coast and get on to return down the line.

Elsewhere the current plan is to stay somewhere local to a stage and use a bus or rail for the return trip.

Each stage above includes a section regarding access to start/end points. In most cases this will be based on experience and where possible using public transport.


Start: 05 June 2016
End: Ongoing

References & Links:

Date Title
20140608 South West Coast Path [National Trail Site]
20140608 South West Coast Path [Wikipedia]
20140608 South West Coast Path Association

KJM 02 Sep 2017