South West Coast Path: Minehead To Combe Martin

This walk takes in the entire coastline of Exmoor National Park, offering spectacular views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, with its mix of quaint villages, lonely moorland, rugged cliffs, and dense coastal woodlands.

Explore the unique landscape of Exmoor – much of which has remained largely unchanged since smugglers plied the lonely coastline and romantic poets strode out across the moors in search of their muse.

North Hill offers panoramic views with a chance to see Exmoor ponies and maybe the Exmoor red deer, then a walk along the ridge finishes by dropping steeply down through Bossington to the villages of Porlock and Porlock Weir. Visit Culbone Church, reputedly the smallest in England. The final day begins with a steep climb out of Heddon Valley, where wonderful vistas open up and the path climbs up and down through combes, passing the highest point on the coast path: Great Hangman, before dropping down to Combe Martin – the final point of the Exmoor section of the Path.

All along this walk there are fantastic views across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast and Lundy Island. After many ups and downs, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement on reaching Combe Martin.

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Distance

56km

Days

6

Grade

Moderate to Challenging

Theme

History / Coastal / Culture

Landscape Type

By Water / Rolling Countryside

South West Coast Path: Minehead To Combe Martin

Every step of the journey has been carefully planned to help you make the most of your walking adventure. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information.

Tour Details

This itinerary has been created by Exmoor Walking Holidays based in the village of Dunster at the heart of the Exmoor National Park. The tour includes dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation, with packed lunches for the walking days. For the guided walking package, an experienced guide will lead you along the route and transport is provided to the start and from the end of each day’s walking, with options for a pick-up along the route in case of any problems.

To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later, or to download them as a PDF.

Itinerary

This itinerary includes Selworthy Beacon with spectacular views over the moor, and on to Hurlstone Point overlooking the magnificent Porlock Bay. You’ll also pass Hollow Brook: one of the highest waterfalls in Britain, dropping 200 meters to the sea. On the final day, you’ll tackle Great Hangman: the highest point on the Coast Path at 1043 feet above sea level.

Day 1 - Arrive at Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster

Arrive at Dunster and settle into the Yarn Market Hotel.

Day 2 - Minehead to Porlock Weir

Leave the bustle of Minehead behind on this the first section of the 630-mile trail along the coast of wild Exmoor – the loftiest stretch of coastline in England with cliffs rising to 250m/820feet. Follow the dramatic route which runs closer to the coast, or stay inland on the moor and enjoy the expansive views from Selworthy Beacon. There’s plenty to look for, as the Exmoor coast provides a rich habitat for many beautiful and rare species of flora and fauna. Transport back to the Yarn Market Hotel. 15 km / 9.3 miles

Day 3 - Porlock Weir to Countisbury

This section of the Coast Path journeys over dramatic cliff paths and through beautiful wooded combes with seasonal waterfalls and streams. From Culbone, follow the clifftop route for spectacular views across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast or take the more direct path through ancient Culbone Woods. Either way, this is a dramatic landscape which provided inspiration for the wild coastal settings in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan and The Ancient Mariner. Transport back to the Yarn Market Hotel.
16.5 km / 10.3 miles

Day 4 - Countisbury to Hunters Inn

There’s the option to take a short cut up the cliffs by using the Victorian water-powered cliff railway, but strict enthusiasts will take the zig-zag path up the hill instead. This leads to the spectacular rock formations of The Valley of Rocks. This is part of R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone territory, and the landscape is so extraordinary that legend has explained its origin as the ‘acts of the Devil’. The day’s itinerary finishes at Heddon Valley, where a drink at the Hunters Inn beckons. Transport back to the Yarn Market Hotel. 13.6 km  / 8.5 miles

Day 5 - Hunters Inn to Combe Martin

The final day includes a challenging climb out of Heddon Valley to reach the highest point of the South West Coast Path, finishing with a long descent into Combe Martin with lovely views out over the Bristol Channel and along one of the most beautiful stretches of the north coast. Transport back to the Yarn Market Hotel. 11.4km / 7.1 miles

Day 6 - Departure Day

After breakfast at the hotel, depart for onward or return travel home.

Accommodation

Accommodation in a twin or double room (if sharing) or a single occupancy room at the Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster – a 28-bedroom hotel in the heart of the medieval village of Dunster. The hotel has been inspected by Visit Britain and was given a ‘3-Star Hotel’ rating with a ‘Walkers Welcome’ accreditation.

Travel

Air / Rail

Fly to Bristol or Exeter then train and bus to Minehead. Taunton is the nearest mainline railway station. You can catch the number 28 bus from here to Minehead. If coming by train (nearest station Taunton), the 28 bus from Taunton to Minehead stops outside the train station and drops at Dunster Steep and buses run every 30 minutes during the day on week days.
For further details visit Traveline or phone 0870 6082608. A complimentary travel itinerary is available on request for anyone using public transport.

Alternatively, fly into London Heathrow and take a National Express direct coach service 502 to Taunton bus station.

If traveling from London, there is a fast and frequent train from London Paddington to Taunton usually taking between 1 hr 40 minutes and 2 hours.

Advice

The route is described as moderate to slightly challenging. Suitable outdoor clothing and walking boots are necessary for the walk; any time of the year would be suitable but popular times are February/March/April and September/October/November when the mild climate is ideal for walking. The scenery is fantastic all year round, but autumn is especially dramatic when the vast swathes of heathland become a purple haze of heather and the wooded combes turn golden brown.

Food & Drink

Expect to find fresh seafood at pubs and restaurants in the larger towns and some refreshing local ales from local breweries like Quantock and Exmoor Ales, whose celebrated Exmoor Gold was one of England’s first refreshing golden ales. The restaurant at the Yarn Market Hotel uses local ingredients in its home-cooked food wherever possible. The bar stocks a good selection of local beers from Cotleigh and Quantock breweries, ciders by Sheppy’s, and ‘Wicked Wolf’ Exmoor gin. Recommended watering holes along the Path include: The Old Ship Aground, Minehead; The Ship, Porlock Weir; The Blue Ball, Countisbury, Hunters Inn, Heddons Mouth; The Dolphin Inn, Combe Martin.

Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

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