The UK is blessed with so many Long Distance Footpaths that covering them all in one place would be a mammoth task! To make your life easier, we have picked five of the best UK Costal Paths from the long list of LDP walks that follow the coast.
1. South West Coast Path 1,014 km / 630 miles (50 days)
The South West Coast Path runs from Somerset to Dorset, taking in the beautiful scenery of the coasts of Devon and Cornwall. As well as including breath-taking scenery, this LDP is particularly challenging due to the many ascents and descents in heights along the way. In fact, it has been calculated that the complete height covered in this path is four times the height of Mount Everest! As this long route can be broken up into seven distinct parts, it is ideal for those wishing to tackle it on separate occasions.
2. Kent Coastline Walk 333 km / 207 miles (7 days)
Starting in East Sussex and finishing in Kent, the Kent Coastline Walk takes in a mixture of urban and coastal paths, through some of the historic areas of Britain’s maritime and wartime past. Popular English holiday destinations such as Ramsgate, Herne Bay and Margate are all featured on this relatively flat route. For those whose enjoyment of a walk is enhanced by taking in wildlife along the way, the abundance of birdlife on the mudflats will not disappoint. While this is a long walk there are many good public transport links along the way for those who want to tackle it in stretches over a longer period of time.
There is an accompanying guide book available for this walk entitled Walking the Kent Coast from End to End.
3. Fife Coastal Path 185 km / 115 miles (10 days)
Set against the stunning scenery of East Scotland, the Fife Coastal Path takes in many castles and long stretches of beaches, as well as fishing villages and caves. The walk has recently been expanded to allow even more coverage of the Fife coastal boundary. This gives those familiar with the walk an excuse to revisit it and tackle the extended version. The route is described as easy walking, although timing with the tides is required in some areas due to the use of the foreshore. For the more adventurous walkers out there, there is a short optional section which involves a short foray into the cliffs and rocks for a spot of climbing; using chains fixed to the rock, hence the name Chain Walk. If this diversion doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, a more sedate route can be taken along the above cliff tops. To make life easier for anyone undertaking this walk, the tourist board are currently updating the services available along the route.
To find out more about this costal LDP and get help with planning your walk take a look at The Fife Coastal Path: The Official Guide.
4. Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path National Trail 154 km / 96 miles (8 days)
This LDP can be taken as two separate walks of 46 miles (74 km) and 45 miles (72 km), or for those seeking a longer distance trek, it can be walked together as one. The route takes in a mixture of both inland and coastal walking with the second part of the path featuring more of the coast. This walk is a great opportunity to follow an ancient Romanised section of a prehistoric route, which also takes in priory and castle ruins along the way. This is a fairly easy route to follow and provides a good combination of history, coastal views and inland walking.
5. Bournemouth Coast Path 60 km / 37 miles (3 days)
This path takes in the scenic coastlines of Bournemouth, Boscombe, Southbourne, and Highcliffe, allowing you to view some of the best sights the South Coast of England has to offer. A novelty of this path is that a short ferry ride is required to cross Christchurch harbour, although in winter a 3 mile walk through the town is required instead, as the ferry isn’t often running at that time of the year. The Bournemouth Coastal Path also serves as a linkup between the South West Coastal Path and the Solent Way. There is an accompanying book for this walk which is available in paperback.