The Best British Coastal Paths
We have an abundance of choice when it comes to coastal walks in the UK. The Wales Coastal Path has opened 870 miles of coastline and got us to thinking about some of our other favourites up and down the country.
Portknockie to Cullen, Moray Coast Scotland
This 4 ½ mile circular coastal walk links the fishing villages of Cullen and Portknockie with some stunning cliff and rock scenery along the way including the Bow Fiddle Rock. Take the spiralling steps down to see the fresh water spring Jenny’s Well along the route before returning along the old railway line and viaduct.
Craster to Dunstanburgh, Northumberland
This is a 6 mile, mostly flat route making it suitable for everyone, starting from Craster, home to some of the best kippers in the country. On this route you will find the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle which is managed by English Heritage so if you want to have a walk round make sure that you check out the opening times. The cliffs also provide a home for quite a few different species of wildlife, sometimes seals can be spotted.
Boggle Hole to Robin's Hoods Bay North Yorkshire
This is a 6 mile route which can be completed along the beach or the cliff path before returning along the disused railway line. This is one of the UK's best fossil coasts and situated in Robin Hood’s Bay is the Yorkshire Dinosaur Fossil Museum. Boggle Hole itself is a crevice in the cliff with uniquely curved-out hollows, worn away by the sea, with its great acoustics you can sing and howl to your heart’s content.
Durdle Door & White Nothe Circular, Dorset
This is a 7 mile all round route that starts and finishes at Lulworth Cove. There are plenty of cafés and a castle to have a walk round when your finished walking on the coast. Lulworth Cove is part of the Jurassic Coast which spans 95 miles across Devon and Dorset. This route has a few steep climbs throughout but is worth the hard work for the spectacular views.
Aberporth Beach, Cardiganshire
The village of Aberporth has two sandy beaches with rock pools at low tide and bottle nosed dolphins, sunfish and basking sharks can also be stopped in the area. On the cliff top walk look out for stonechat, meadow pipits and the rare chough bird. There are also gatekeeper butterflies fluttering about.
Heddon's Mouth, Devon
A route just over 2 miles in length with a gentle stroll through ancient woodland bright with fresh leaves and wildflowers in the springtime, along a stream to a tiny secluded shingle beach strewn with boulders and shadowed by steep, scree-clad hillsides, with dramatic cliffs. Children of all ages will love the rugged terrain, as well as the beach and the ruined limekiln.
Top Tips for Staying Safe on Coastal Walks
- Don’t rely on mobile phones as reception can be patchy along the coast
- If you are crossing a beach, make sure you know the tide times so you won’t be cut off
- Keep to the path and stay away from cliff edges
- Sea breezes can be very deceptive in hiding the strength of the sun rays so don't forget the suncream
- Do not disturb farm animals or wildlife, cows in particular are not very keen on coming into contact with our four legged friend
Try a Spot of Beachcombing
Whilst you’re out along the coast it would be a shame not to do a little spot of beachcombing. Searching for hidden treasures along the strandline is one of the highlights of a trip to the seaside.
- Mermaid’s Purse - The egg cases of skates, rays and sharks
- Whelk eggs - Egg casings come in all shapes and sizes. The smallest case you might come across in the strandline is that of the common whelk. A cluster of egg casing is also known as fisherman's soap or sea wash balls.
- Cuttlefish bone - One of the most common finds on a beachcombing expedition, the cuttlefish is a relative of the octopus however it may come as a surprise that this isn’t a fish at all it is in fact a mollusc. The cuttlefish bone, one of the most familiar objects to be found.
- Starfish - There are over 30 different types of starfish in the UK including brittlestars, cushion stars and sea stars.
- Jelly fish - Nothing worse than a jellyfish sting, and guess what, even dead jellyfish can sting you!
- Buoy barnacle - When you take a closer look at the washed up seaweed they may have interesting stowaways attached. The bouy barnacle is a type of soft-shelled barnacle that attaches itself to floating objects and then travels to wherever the tide take it. Usually they're found in warmer waters, in recent years large numbers have been washed up on UK beaches.
- Sea mat - At first glance sea mats, especially the Hornwrack, are easily mistaken as a type of sea weed however the branches are made up of groups of colonial animals called zooids. The zooids are tongue shaped and if you take a sniff they have a distinct smell of lemon when they wash up upon the shore.
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