Planning the route
I used the Long
Distance Path Chart to plan the overall route from Oxford to the start of
the South West Coast Path at Poole. I needed detailed Ordnance Survey maps to
plan the route from the end of the Ridgeway National Trail to the start of the
Avon Valley Path at Salisbury.
For a map of my route, click
here. For my day-by-day log, click here.
finding on the ground from the end of the Ridgeway was fair, although some of
the paths were little used and overgrown. The Avon Valley Path was mostly well
waymarked and maintained, but with a definite improvement when I crossed the county
boundary from Wiltshire to Hampshire.
I timed my walk to make sure that
I would arrive at Kimmeridge when the Lulworth Range Walks are open (i.e. at a
weekend). That is a dramatic stretch of coast, and definitely worth doing. I was
less concerned about the other army ranges en route - I was unlucky on Salisbury
Plain and lucky at Tregantle.
River crossings in South Devon and Cornwall
required attention to tide tables and ferry timetables. The
South West Coast Path Guide has details of both.
stayed at B&Bs and youth hostels. I booked accommodation in advance for the
first 4 nights. On the coast, where there is generally more accommodation, I found
accommodation by ringing round the morning or the day before I needed it. That
mostly worked well at the time of year (June and early July). But there are some
stretches where B&Bs were sparse (East Dorset and around Start Point) and
I was lucky to find somewhere at short notice. Saturday nights were busy, and
I should have booked in advance then.
Costs for B&B varied from £22
to £45 a night. I noticed that B&B's were more expensive than when I
walked the north Cornwall coast in 2004 - the yachtie places like Dartmouth and
Salcombe were quite pricey.
South West Coast Path Guide (South West Coast Path Association, annually):
up to date and includes details of accommodation.
Reverse Guide (South West Coast Path Association, 2006): the only guide written
from Poole to Land's End.
Coast Path: Bude to Falmouth
by Edith Schofield (Trailblazer, 2006): I found the detailed sketch maps very
useful, even though I was walking in the "wrong" direction.
Walking the Coastline of England and Wales
by Andrew McCloy (Coronet, 1997): by the author of the LEJOG bible. Out of print,
but sometimes available used. This book will convince you that most of the coast
of England cannot compare with the South West Coast Path.
navigate from Oxford to the south coast I mostly used Ordnance Survey Explorer
maps (1:25,000). On the coast path, it was pretty difficult to get lost (just
keep the sea on your left), but it was good to have the OS maps.
173, 192, 201, 204, 203
170, 130, OL22, OL15, 116, OL20
Other walkers' websites