The South West Coastal Path starts its long journey from Minehead in Somerset. The sculpture on the sea wall marks the end of the West Somerset Coast Path walks and the beginning of the South West Coastal Path walking route.
We were staying in Butlins so I mapped out a good 18 miles or so circular walking route from Minehead. Firstly along the South West Coastal Path to Hurlstone Point and then back down through Lynch Combe, up along Selworthy Beacon and then following the top of the South West Coastal Path back to Minehead.
It had been raining the previous day and evening so I was prepared for more wet weather walking today but the sun had come out and it was looking very favourable. I put my walking jacket, hat and gloves in my rucksack just in case, laced up my sturdy walking boots and strapped on my gaiters to protect my legs.
From the start of the South West Coastal Path (SWC Path), or Coastal Path as it is often referred to on route, I entered Culver Cliff Park through a gate until I reached a steep climb up to a signpost Bridleway to Greenaleigh Farm with Culver Cliff and Culver Cliff Sand below me and the ever present view of South Wales on my right hand side. At the fork I kept left to a signpost for the National Trust and then turned a sharp left up some wooden steps signposted Coastal Path to Porlock.
This was another steep climb as I walked back on myself and through a gate to the turn right at the signpost Bridleway to North Hill where I continued along with Greenaleigh Farm now down on my right hand side. I continued along until I turned sharp left uphill for a short way, with the car park a little further up, where I then turned right by the signpost Rugged Alternative Coastal Path to Porlock with the path bending round to the left by a gate and then steeply down before the inevitable steep climb back up the other side at Grexy Combe.
I was now just over an hour into my walk and had found a good pace only to then be presented with some narrow paths around the cliff face. I don’t really like walking around the edge of cliffs but the beautiful scenery, clear blue skies, great weather and the glorious fresh air filling my lungs kept me going until I was passed the worst of it.
At Henners Combe I walked steeply down and just as steeply back up the other side passed East Combe with the view of the upper South West Coastal Path now insight on the opposite of the valley where I then reached Hurlstone Combe and then Hurlstone Point and its impressive views.
I then walked back to where I had left the main pathway and bore left up to the signpost for Coastal Path to Minehead where I kept left at the fork and turned right at the signpost for Lynch Combe. I then turned left down the signpost Bridleway to Bossington via Lynch Combe. I continued to follow this pathway all the way down in to the woodland below.
I then turned left at the Bridleway signpost and then right at the signpost Bridleway to Lynch Combe and in to the Allerford Plantation where I turned left at a gate signposted Allerford to then keep left before turning right up the extremely steep Sleigh Path to Bossington Hill.
I’m sure that Sleigh Path is a lot more fun going down than it is hiking up it. My legs were already tired after just over 3 hours of strenuous terrain and this hill was seriously taking its toll on my thigh and calf muscles. I was very happy to see the gate at the top signposted Allerford Woods. I kept straight ahead and up to the second viewpoint of the day at the end of the Hill Road. Walking through the small car park and along the road I turned left, just opposite the Memorial Hut.
I then cut across the moors to a pathway that followed parallel to the road where I met a small group of Exmoor Ponies who were congregating around Selworthy Beacon. Although it’s not marked as a viewpoint on the map it offered the best views of the day so far. After the Exmoor Ponies had moved on I took a quick 360 degree video of the views.
Click here to watch the short video from Selworthy Beacon: Selworthy Beacon Video
The views from Selworthy Beacon refreshed my senses ready for the rest of the walk back to Minehead. Following the pathway to the right I turned left at the fork to then walk straight across the small road to the fork left and down to the gate. I headed down across the field to my right and went through the gate signposted Holnicote Estate National Trust before going straight ahead at the next signpost with the last viewpoint by the small car park at just off Hill Road.
Heading back downhill I reached another small car park where I went straight ahead signposted Highertown and then continued straight ahead in to Moor Wood before turning left at the signpost Bridleway to Minehead by the cattle grid. As I walked down through the woodland I kept right at the fork and then zig-zagged my way downhill to reach Moor Road. I then turned left and then left again passing the church on my left to then bend round at Church Steps, then left, right and left down Clanville Road straight ahead down some steps to then bend left and then down to the sea wall.
I was fortunate to then meet up with Mary and Tedi who I called earlier to come and meet me at the end of the walk so the timing was superb. We then popped in to the Quay Inn where I had a glorious pint of Exmoor Gold before we all walked back to Butlins just under 6 hours and nearly 20 miles of what had been a marvellous walking route along the South West Coastal Path from Minehead.
Click here to see all the photographs from this walk: South West Coastal Path Minehead