Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sun October 02 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | October 2, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Take A Hike: England's Spectacular Southwest Coast Path

    Take A Hike: England's Spectacular Southwest Coast Path

    All photos by Worldwide Scott

    No matter where you may find yourself in England, you can bet you aren’t far away from a walking path. Yes, the country is completely crisscrossed with trails, many of them having been in use since ancient times. Others are modern-day products, created from scratch for public initiatives or clever recreational reinventions of things like disused train lines.

    While some of these tracks can be tackled in time to be home for afternoon tea, still others are serious long-distance slogs, taking anything from a day or two to a couple of months to complete. Fifteen of these long-distance trails in England and Wales are called National Trails, and arguably the most spectacular of them all is the Southwest Coast Path.

    A Little History

    All who enjoy the splendor of the Southwest Coast Path today have the defenders of the British coast from yesterday to thank. Since the southwest stretch of England was a hotbed of smuggling activity, coast guardsman had no choice but to patrol every single cove and cliff along the coast. Their well-trodden tracks became the foundation of the Southwest Coast Path when it was formally launched as a National Trail in 1978. 

    Going the Distance

    Stretching for 630 miles, the Southwest Coast Path is the longest of all the National Trails, and arguably the most scenic. The trail starts in Minehead, Somerset, then snakes its way across the entirety of both Cornwall and Devon to finish up at Poole Harbour in Dorset.

    Don’t feel any pressure to walk the whole path on your next trip though, as most people enjoy it a few hours or a few days at a time before coming back and attempting another stretch.

    What You’ll See on the SCP

    The trail hugs the coast nearly the entire time (remember, those patrols had to be on the edge of the rocks to see those smugglers), so it treats walkers to absolutely stunning sights of rocky cliffs, windswept beaches, foamy sea, fascinating flora & fauna, and everything in between. The views are constantly changing along the way, making each stretch of the path slightly different from the last.

    I mean, just look at these pictures.

    In addition, there is plenty of sights to be taken in along the way in the form of ruins, lighthouses, hidden churches, lost-in-time seaside villages, and wartime relics - including many having to do with the Allied preparation for D-Day.

    The geology on display may just be the most fascinating sight of them all though, and the path includes a spell along the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast - where over 180 million years of geological history is on show. 

    Come On Get Higher

    In addition to the gorgeous geology and astounding landscapes, a signature of the Southwest Coast Path is the up-and-down nature of it. In fact, it is said that the elevation climbed on the entirety of the path is the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest … four times.

    READ MORE: Discovering England’s Natural Side

    How to Find the Trail

    Finding the SCP is pretty simple. Just make your way to the coast somewhere between Minehead and Poole Harbour, look to your left or right, and you are bound to see the path. If for some reason you miss it, look for a sign post adorned with an acorn, as there are over 30,000 of these on the path pointing walkers in the right direction.


    The end-all-be-all site for everything Southwest Coast Path is:, they provide everything from maps to suggested walks, and all kinds of advice. 

More England


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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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