Elsie & Fleur

If you’re venturing west this weekend or are lucky enough to live here, there are few walks in the world to rival the romance of the South West Coast Path. If you’re after a gentle clifftop meander at sunset enjoying views across golden sands or a windswept ramble through wonderful woodland, we’ve got it all here in the glorious Westcountry.

Gribbin Head, Cornwall (4.5 miles)

This area of headland just west of Fowey is famed for its association with Daphne du Maurier, who lived for many years at Menabillly at Gribbin Head and used it as a model for Manderley in her novel Rebecca. The South West Coast Path traverses the peninsula and combines breathtaking natural beauty with wildlife and unique heritage.

Abbotsbury to Ferrybridge, Dorset (10 miles)

This section of the Jurassic Coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the views of the dramatic 18-mile Chesil Beach, which features prominently in Thomas Hardy’s  last published novel, The Well-Beloved, is guaranteed to melt the stoniest of hearts. The South West Coast Path climbs inland from the historic village of Abbotsbury, passing woodland and open, rolling fields until dropping to follow the West Dorset Heritage Coast along the shores of the Fleet Lagoon to Ferry Bridge.

Burgh Island, Devon (0.7 miles)

This small island has an Art Deco hotel, which was made famous by Agatha Christie and voted ‘most romantic hotel in Britain’ by contributors to the Good Hotel Guide in 2012, a 14th-century inn, an ancient chapel as well as a couple of sandy beaches. Cross the causeway on foot at low tide (make sure you can get back again!) or take the sea tractor.

Sennen Cove and Land's End, Cornwall (3 miles)

This is a bracing walk above the beautiful Sennen Cove, returning around the rugged and romantic coastline from Land's End. The lost land of Atlantis was once thought to lie offshore and the mythical world of Lyonesse is believed to have drowned just a few miles off the tip of the land. According to Alfred Lord Tennyson, King Arthur fought his last battle here, while long before him Thomas Mallory asserted that it was the birthplace of Tristan.

Porlock Woodland walk, Somerset (4.1 miles)

Stroll around the western side of Exmoor’s Porlock Bay, through the wooded hills above Porlock Weir, along Porlock Beach and back around the edge of marshy pastures – a favourite among the Romantic Poets and modern-day romantics alike.

With thanks to the South West Coast Path Association and Jacob Herman for Sunset at Treyarnon image. For more information please visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk.


Written by Cherry Pullinger — February 26, 2016

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