According to an official measurement by the Ordnance Survey, the United Kingdom has over 11,000 miles of coastline! Yes, really! With so much coastline ready for us to explore, this summer we really are spoilt for choice on our Summer Staycation.
This is our penultimate stop on our Summer Staycation, and if you haven’t already guessed it, we are taking you on a journey along the thousands of miles of coastal walks that the UK has to offer.
This is by no means aimed at those looking for a more leisurely summer of sunshine and activity. In fact, some of the areas and walks we will recommend are incredibly challenging. And will be even more so in the warmer weather.
So, before we go any further, let’s cover a few safety essentials.
- Plan your route.
As beautiful and wild as our coastlines are, they are also dangerous so planning your route and being aware of the hazards that you will be presented with, is vitally important. Think like a local and stick to areas that are known to be safe and easily passable. And that have good phone signal too, just in case.
- Mind your step
Slips, trips, and falls are the number one source of most coastal accidents, rescue calls and unfortunately sometimes, fatalities. Awareness of cliff edges and rock faces at the water’s edge, therefore, should be your number one priority.
- Stock up
If you are heading out for a long trek, be prepared with plenty of food, water and other provisions that might help you in case of emergency. Carrying with you a device that can be used to call for help is also a must. In case of emergency, call 99 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
- Take your time
Many of the coastal walks in the UK cover tens if not hundreds of miles of coastline so depending on your fitness level and time available, we would recommend breaking these down into small chunks. For some people, completing some of the longest coastal paths can and does take place over the course of months and years. With every outing, taking on a new section of the path.
- Light up the way
Speaking of long days out, if you are walking through periods of darkness or poor visibility, having lighting equipment and being aware of your surroundings during periods of low light is a must.
- Watch the weather
Last but by no means least, if you are going to be crossing beaches and coves you will need to be aware of the weather and tide times, so you don’t get caught out at the last minute. This is another leading cause of emergency rescue calls on Britain’s coastlines and we don’t want this to happen to any of our U Perform family.
If you are well prepared, you will likely have a confident understanding of where you are going, the hazards that you will come across and the expected time it will take or your destination. Despite this however, we would always recommend that you make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be back. Or even better, go as a group so you can all look out for each other on your walk.
That should cover the basics for you, but if you need extra advice, make sure to check with the local authority of the area you are visiting, a local guide or even the coast guard before you travel any further.
So, lace up your boots, grab your map and compass and let’s go as we are going to take you (almost) the length of the country from Land’s End, right the way up the country to John O’Groats, showcasing a mere handful of the most popular and iconic walks that you can undertake.
By the way, the famous Land’s End to John O’Groats is a popular ultra-endurance challenge that cyclists from all over the world come to the UK to take on. It’s on our bucket list of epic challenges! A recent 2-man relay managed to cover the distance of around
Anyway, I digress. Here it is, our recommended coastal walks right here in the UK:
- Southwest Coast Path
Number one purely because this is one closest to home for us here at U Perform HQ! It has slightly more claim to fame than that as it just so happens to be the longest coastal walk in the UK right now and multi-award winning too. The Southwest Coast Path spans upwards of 600 miles of spectacular coastline from
Starting in Minehead, Somerset, the route is traditionally walked in an anti-clockwise direction down to Cornwall, around the entire Cornish coast, across to the Devon coast before heading further east and ending in Poole Harbour.
The route is well signed and maintained by a charity organisation called the South West Coast Path Association and is open all year round which is just as well as you will probably want to come back a few times to take on sections of the route little and often.
- Coast to Coast Walk
Now this one isn’t a 100% coastal walk, but it certainly starts and finishes on two polar opposite coastlines. Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk is perhaps one of the most iconic walking routes in the world, let alone just in the UK. Famously taking walkers from the Irish Sea at St. Bees, Cumbria right across the north of England to Robin Hood’s Bay at the North Sea.
The original route, created in 1972, was intended to encourage others to come up with their own routes for walking coast to coast. But Wainwright’s route was so highly revered that it is still the most popular choice today.
It’s definitely not one for the faint hearted. Spanning 182 miles (293km) connecting the Irish and North Seas in the North of England showcasing what Wainwright believed was the very best that the United Kingdom had to offer.
This largely unsignposted takes walkers through three very different but altogether beautiful National Parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. And if that wasn’t enough, Wainwright mapped his original Coast to Coast route so that it took in as much elevation as possible along the way. Sounds pretty cruel if you ask me!
But don’t worry, over the years, many alternative routes have been created that still keep the spirit of the original just without the mountainous terrain!
If you want to see the official route for yourself – click here.
Now we could keep going and listing coastal routes all over the country, but we would be here forever and part of the fun of our Summer Staycation series is that we equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to allow you to get out there and explore new areas yourself, whether close to home or a little further afield.
For more walking inspiration then be sure to head to the National Trails website where you can find even more coastal and inland trails and paths for you to explore. Covering some of the most beautiful areas of the United Kingdom you won’t be disappointed, and you may find yourself on a challenge of a lifetime too.
For those of you who don’t know, National Trails is a nationally recognised organisation which is planning to create the world’s longest continuous coastal path that covers the whole of the English coastline. And when completed will be the ultimate challenge for walking and adventure enthusiasts.
Already, there are multiple regional sections along our coastlines that simply need planning and permission to join up and form a super coast path! You can find out more information about this by clicking here.
And that’s it for this week’s round of our Summer Staycation series. We hope you enjoyed and are feeling inspired to head to the coast (safely) and enjoy everything that our beautiful coastlines have to offer. Do let is know what summer activities you are getting up to this year. You can leave a comment below or tag us on social media @uperformuk and use #uperform #uperformuk. We can’t wait to hear from you!