Explore the best of the South West coast with new rail trails
Summer is the perfect time of year for a walk on the South West Coast Path – it’s also the perfect time for traffic jams as people head for the coast! Help is at hand with a new series of walking itineraries that let the train take the strain out of travelling to the South West, arguably one of the most scenic train journeys in the UK. You’ll arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for the spectacular walk ahead.
Here is a selection from the South West Coast Path website – each itinerary takes in different mainline stations and branch lines at the start and end points. For more details and other itineraries, visit www.southwestcoastpath.com/rail-trails
A spokesman for First Great Western said: “The South West offers access to the most beautiful stretches of the coastline in the country, including a number of walking trails, a host of pubs, restaurants and other facilities within easy reach of a station. First Great Western is privileged to provide services to some of the region’s leading tourist destinations.”
Dartmouth to Torquay (19.4 miles in two days) From the maritime port of Dartmouth in South Devon to the heart of the English Riviera at Torquay, this walk offers a diverse Coast Path experience. The nature and geology along this stretch of Coast Path provides some of the most spectacular scenery of the entire trail, which contrasts beautifully with the urban landscape. It takes you through part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the UNESCO designated English Riviera Global Geopark where the rocks date back over 300 million years.
Padstow to St Ives: (67 miles in 6 days at an average speed) This is an idyllic stretch of the South West Coast Path, a place of fishing-boat harbours, rolling Atlantic breakers and long sandy bucket-and-spade beaches. The pure bright light draws artists from all over the world, and warm air from the Gulf Stream encourages many exotic species: tropical plants flourish in the popular resorts, and dolphins and porpoises are sometimes seen offshore. The coastline is dotted with the chapels and wells of sixth century Celtic saints, but there are darker tales too of giants and sinners among the mines and dunes.
Weymouth station to Lulworth Cove – (14.4 miles) From the rugged rocks of Portland, to the hustle and bustle of the seaside resort of Weymouth, followed by quiet rural paths leading to high, undulating chalk cliffs on the way to Lulworth Cove, this walk becomes progressively harder as you leave Weymouth and set off along the impressive cliffs of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. As you approach Lulworth be sure to look back to the breathtaking views of the limestone arch of Durdle Door, the high cliffs of White Nothe and Weymouth Bay and Portland beyond.
Corfe Castle to Poole: (19.5 miles in two days) A saunter around the Jurassic coastline of the Isle of Purbeck, starting inland at Corfe Castle, where the Normans built a stronghold, and dropping down to the coast through a green valley bright with gorse. Follow the Purbeck Heritage Coast through a landscape of chalk cliffs and limestone quarries, as well as spectacular chalk stacks offshore, and grasslands with more species of native wildflowers than in any other area of Britain.
Falmouth station to Par – 36.5 mile; 3 days along the Roseland Secluded coves and wooded valleys are found in some sections of this walk along the south coast of Cornwall, while in others there are high windswept headlands jutting out to sea. This route takes in the lush Roseland Peninsula, part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a series of fishing ports and the headlands of Dodman Point and Black Head.
(from a press release)