Hiking Coastal Cornwall

Nature & Coastal Walking at its Best in Cornwall and Devon

September 21 – 29, 2023 • 9 Days • $4500

Nature walks are the star of the show for this Adventure—shady forests and grazing sheep at pasture, stiles and kissing gates to navigate, placid lily ponds and, above all, glorious sea cliff walks.

Hidden Gems of Wales

September 29 – October 3, 2023 • 5 Days • $2690

The little country of Wales offers more rugged coastal and natural beauty to explore on foot in Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Parks. In additional to some outstanding hikes, our time in Wales offers a rich exploration of various industries that have become woven into the fabric of Welsh culture – mining, railroad, canal-building, and even the crafting of lovespoons!

Tour Type: Classic Curated

Nature walks are the star of the show for this Adventure—shady forests and grazing sheep at pasture, stiles and kissing gates to navigate, placid lily ponds and, above all, glorious sea cliff walks in both Wales and Cornwall.

Along the way, we learn about the deep Celtic heritage here and resistance to England’s thirst for conquest—first Saxon then Norman, then the medieval monarchies of the English throne.

We also sample local specialties and will likely become embroiled in the long-standing debate between Devon and Cornwall about the proper way to spread a scone for cream tea—jam first or clotted cream?! If this kind of drama sounds like fun, we invite you to join us for this visit to Cornwall & Wales, a charming, often overlooked corner of the British Isles!

 

Hiking Coastal Cornwall

Including:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 12 meals: 8 breakfasts & 4 dinners as denoted (BD)
  • 9 walk routes
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (pending sanction approval)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local and national guides throughout program
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for national and local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $625. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Port Isaac – home of “Doc Martin” TV series
  • Cornish Mining World Heritage Site
  • Land’s End – Cornwall
  • St. Michael’s Mount tour (weather dependent) – Cornwall
  • Lanhydrock House – Cornwall
  • Traditional Cornish Cream Tea – Cornwall
  • Plymouth Gin Distillery tour – Devon
  • Dartmoor National Park – Devon
  • Cardiff Water Bus cruise – Wales
  • Big Pit National Coal Museum – Wales
  • Plus more fun and educational stops than we can list!

Hidden Gems of Wales Extension

Including:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 7 meals: 4 breakfasts & 3 dinners as denoted (BD)
  • 3 walk routes
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (pending sanction approval)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local and national guides throughout program
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for national and local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $375. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
  • National Slate Museum
  • Caernarfon Castle guided tour
  • Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Beddgelert
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
  • Plus more fun and educational stops than we can list!

“Country walks – nature trails – make me feel like a native, not a stranger in a foreign land, and this trip was full of my favorite type! Thanks for wonderful planning.”

-LaVunn M; Shavano Park, TX


“All of the walks were highlights and really enjoyed having St. Michael’s Mount open early just for our group. Mandy and Viv were great. Welsh choir was wonderful.”

-Lucy Y; Leavenworth, KS


[What characteristics of WAI prompted you to join?] “Outstanding guides enriching you with their countries information. We had the best!”

-Carol I; Lake Oswego, OR


 “Good trip – activities were great, enjoyed the hotel locations, well informed guides and capable coach driver!”

-Patricia T; Cassville, MO


“With local guides you learn and see so much more than on your own…The trails and scenery along the coastline is spectacular….We also enjoy the wild and rugged trails [that] we would never find on our own.”

-Doug & Nancy J; BC, CANADA


“Good to have a variety of experiences… With emphasis on learning about the regional culture… An excellent adventure – good walks, good food, good company.”

-Neva Y; Seattle, WA


“Excellent to have mine and public works, factory visits in addition to chateaus, castles, churches…Very good itinerary”

-Peter V.; Lake Oswego, OR


“WAI is a premier outfit and meets my expectations of how I prefer to tour. I’ve enjoyed every tour we’ve taken.”

-Judi B; Goodyear, AZ


“I don’t have to think about details after I meet the tour leaders and the leaders themselves are always well prepared.  I have met most of the WAI personnel and I find them all terrific!”

-Robert S; Portland, OR


“I have never been disappointed in any aspect of a Walking Adventures trip.  The trips always exceed my expectations.”

-Thelma G; Richmond, IN


“It is a privilege to be a part of this quality experience. The opportunity of enjoying the authentic local culture and rich heritage expands perspectives and worldviews.”

-LaVae R; Cresswell, OR

Wales & Cornwall England Devon Dartmoor

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

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Important Info

Group Size

Maximum 24 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class or better

Meals

19 meals included: 12 breakfasts and 7 dinners as denoted in itinerary (BD)

Airfare

Not Included. The official start point for this Adventure is our hotel in Wells near the Bristol Airport (BRS) and the finish point is our hotel very near to Manchester Airport (MAN).

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your WAI Guide

Scott Isom

Scott has been leading Walking Adventures around the world on all 7 continents since 2007. He assisted WAI owner, Dan Friesen, on the first edition of Cornwall & Wales back in 2016 and has been instrumental in the ongoing process of improving this Adventure that is part of the WAI credo of staying on the lookout to add value. Scott is a avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast and is definitely in his sweet spot leading this trip of outstanding nature walks. He looks forward to sharing the ageless wonders of this remote corner of Britain.


Scott Burk

Sharing the best of Europe, Northern Africa, Israel, and the USA, Scott Burk has been leading Walking Adventures for 10 years. Scott assisted owner, Dan Friesen, in the initial scouting trip to set up this itinerary in Cornwall, Devon, and Wales and is excited to be assisting Scott Isom on this exploration of an off-the-beaten-track corner of the British Isles. Scott recently retired from a career as an air traffic control manager for the Portland, Oregon airport. In between tours, you’ll likely find Scott tending his expansive yard or reading the newspaper on the front porch with their dog, Titan. Scott loves traveling and sharing the adventure with others!

Mandy Whitehead

Mandy is our outstanding local guide on this tour. Mandy has accompanied our groups in various parts of England and Wales for several years and offers a wealth of local knowledge and cultural info, along with a fun spirit of Adventure! She looks forward to sharing insights into this picturesque part of Great Britain with you!

Itinerary

Click on each day for more details.

Hiking Coastal Cornwall

DAY 1-September 21: Arrive Wells, England (D)

Travelers arrive into England today and rendezvous at our hotel near Bristol Airport. We are based in the delightful cathedral city of Wells directly across from the west front of Wells Cathedral, a 12th century gothic architectural gem! Early arrivals will find a stroll through town, perhaps through the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, to be a wonderfully British way to unwind from a long journey. Join us at the hotel this evening for our welcome orientation followed by dinner.

DAY 2-September 22: Wells – Falmouth, Cornwall (BD)

Today’s route takes us south through Devon County and into Cornwall.

Many Americans are aware of the popular British comedy-drama “Doc Martin”, set in the idyllic Cornish fishing village of Port Wenn. We visit this cute-as-a-button hamlet today, and discover that its real name is Port Isaac. A relaxing walking tour takes us by many of the haunts featured in the TV series including Bert Large’s Restaurant, Doc Martin’s house, the Pharmacy, and others. Even those unaware of the show will enjoy their first introduction to Cornwall’s fishing village ambience.

We finish the day in Falmouth, our base for the next two days.

DAY 3--September 23: Activities from Falmouth (B)

Poldark Tin Coast Walk – 6 km, rated 3B
Land’s End Walk – 2 km, rated 2B

Today’s trail takes us along the South West Coast Path, a contiguous seaside route covering 630 miles of the Cornish coast. Our first walk threads its way along the north coast of Cornwall, providing alternating panoramas of breathtaking seascapes and tin and copper mining ghost towns that provided the backbone of Cornwall’s economy for many centuries. This is the setting for the popular BBC series “Poldark”, a 19th century historical drama shot here on site.

Later this afternoon, a stop at Land’s End offers the opportunity for a second cliffside stroll to this westernmost point of mainland England.

We finish the day with a relaxing evening back at Falmouth.

DAY 4-September 24: Activities from Falmouth (B)

Lizard Peninsula Walk – 8 km, rated 3B

This morning’s excursion takes us across a causeway often covered by high tides to the island fortress aerie of St. Michael’s Mount. The shadowy story of what locals call “the Mount” begins perhaps with a monastery on the Mount in the centuries before the invasion of the Normans (1066 AD). Over the years the Mount’s purpose and ownership varied, though it was always centered on either religion or defense. Whether we walk the causeway or cross by boats depends upon the day’s tide schedule.

The afternoon walk begins on the Lizard Peninsula from a village of the same name. This epic cliffside trail takes us to Lizard Point, southernmost point in Great Britain.

DAY 5-September 25: Falmouth – Plymouth, Devon (BD)

Padstow Coastal Delights Walk – 5 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

We visit Padstow this morning, a key port town and fishing village on the North coast of Cornwall. Our walk takes us along the sandy beaches and scenic coves of the Camel Estuary, before passing by lovely Prideaux Place, a Tudor style mansion built in 1592.

The home has been in the Prideaux family for 400 years, once serving as a home base for a US Army battalion during World War II, and today serves as a popular filming location for movies. Our walk returns us to the picturesque Padstow harborside, home to several eateries owned by the popular Cornish Chef Rick Stein, leading all the local foodies to affectionately refer to Padstow as “Padstein”.

We enjoy free time for lunch on our own before continuing on to Lanhydrock House, the grandest house in the county. Though “Downton Abbey” was filmed in the north of England, those who have followed the PBS television series will find much that is familiar on a self-guided tour through the elegant house and expansive grounds of this National Trust site.

We celebrate our last official day in Cornwall with a traditional Cornish tea together in a genteel but fun setting at Lanhydrock House.

The south Devon city of Plymouth is our home for the next two nights.

DAY 6-September 26: Activities in Plymouth (B)

Mount Edgcumbe Walk – 6 km, rated 2B (unsanctioned)

The significance of the Port of Plymouth in English and world maritime history is difficult to overstate. From our hotel this morning, we stroll along Hoe Park, paying homage at several memorials, including one to the indomitable Sir Francis Drake, one-time mayor of Plymouth and vice admiral of the British Royal Navy who was widely credited with the 1588 defeat of the supposedly invincible Spanish Armada.

Other notable seafaring events and people linked to Plymouth include the Pilgrim’s departure aboard the Mayflower (1620) and Captain James Cook, arguably the supreme mariner in a country of outstanding seamen.

A late-morning tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery enlightens us to another element of British maritime history.

The afternoon is free, or consider joining us for an optional walk across the county line on Mount Edgcumbe. Great coastal views and lovely forest trails combine to make this a delightful last walk in Cornwall! Travelers will pay individually for transportation, including a roundtrip pedestrian ferry crossing.

DAY 7-September 27: Plymouth – Cardiff, Wales (BD)

Dartmoor Bronze Age Walk – 9 km, rated 2B

Leaving Plymouth, today’s main event takes us into one of England’s famous moors—Dartmoor to be precise. Our walk features several Bronze Age sites, including a well-preserved “cist”, a 4000-year-old gravesite built of large flat stones. The highlight of the walk could be Bellever Tor, a hill covered with dramatically differing granite rock formations offering sweeping views of the moor.

From Dartmoor, we drive north through Devon County into Wales, where we spend the next two nights in the bustling capital city of Cardiff, one-time coal capital of the world, now a fascinatingly diverse city with a newly renovated waterfront along Cardiff Bay.

DAY 8-September 28: Activities in Cardiff (B)

Cardiff Past & Present Walk – 9 km, rated 1A

A pleasant water bus cruise down the River Taff connects two contrasting faces of Cardiff featured on today’s walk—gardens, public buildings, and fascinating shopping arcades from the old center of Cardiff lead to a couple miles of walking along Cardiff Bay—the new face of the city—past attractions like the Doctor Who Experience, the Senedd (the new National Assembly of Wales), and the stunning Wales Millennium Centre for performing arts.

The afternoon is free to relax in the environs of our hotel, or join us at the Big Pit National Coal Museum to gain an underground understanding of coal mining and its visceral connection with the Welsh psyche!

DAY 9-September 29: Depart from Cardiff (B)

You are free to depart at your leisure this morning. WAI guides will help batch travelers who have a similar departure schedule and would like to share a taxi to Cardiff Airport. It’s time to return to our North American reality.

We won’t soon forget our Walking Adventure through the history, culture, and coastal scenery of beautiful Cornwall!

Hidden Gems of Wales Extension

DAY 1-September 29: Cardiff – St Davids, Wales (BD)

Stackpole Head & Bosherston Ponds Walk – 11 km, rated 2B

Our coach takes us deeper into Wales this morning to begin exploring all this little country has to offer! We begin with a walk in the tiny hamlet of Bosherston, in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, marks the start of a walk that combines the pastoral pleasures of tree-lined lily ponds with the panoramic drama of a cliffside walk to Stackpole Head, one of the most spectacular points along the Welsh coastline.

Our home for the night is a venerable town of St Davids, resting place of Wale’s patron saint, home of a cathedral dating to the 6th century, and a delightful place for an after-dinner stroll.

DAY 2-September 30: St Davids – Betws-y-Coed, Wales (BD)

Vale of Ffestiniog Walk – 8 km, rated 3C

Leaving Pembrokeshire, we continue into the green vistas of North Wales. Today’s walk follows a delightful nature trail through Snowdonia National Park along a lovely valley best known for its connection with slate mining and the Ffestiniog Railway. Grazing sheep, fields of fern and heather, cliffs of Mount Snowdon, and the passing of the train fill a cornucopia of visual treats on this memorable North Wales trail.

The delightful stone-built village of Betws-y-Coed serves as our base for further adventures tomorrow in Snowdonia and North Wales.

DAY 3-October 1: Activities from Betws-y-Coed (B)

Mining is a livelihood woven deeply into the fabric of Welsh culture. In North Wales, slate was the chief commodity and we learn more about its extraction and the life of miner families with a stop at the National Slate Museum, tucked into the slope of Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park.

English hegemony is another theme in Wales, especially in the north. In the 13th century, King Edward I built an “iron ring” of fearsome castles around North Wales. Our visit to Caernarfon Castle, where the first Prince of Wales was christened, is a testament to the tension between the English overlords and freedom-loving Welshmen.

Our final activity of the day is a ride on one of Wales’ many nostalgic, narrow-gauge, little trains built first to serve the mines, then restored to share the heritage of Welsh trains with visitors.

DAY 4-October 2: Betws-y-Coed – Manchester, England (BD)

Thomas Telford Canal Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

The canal system of Great Britain was developed as far back as the Roman occupation, but was greatly expanded and improved to accommodate the transport needs of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the canals are mainly used for recreational purposes and offer untold miles of boating as well as great walking. Our last walk of the journey follows a course along a delightful section of the Llangollen Canal between Horseshoe Falls and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Perhaps no other single individual impacted the course of modern England’s economic fortunes as much as the master builder Thomas Telford. His stunning aqueduct over the River Dee Valley has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the genesis of our walk.

Finishing the walk, we continue to Manchester, for our final evening at a convenient airport hotel. Join us this evening for a farewell party followed by dinner at the hotel.

DAY 5-October 3: Depart from Manchester (B)

Our hotel offers an airport shuttle service for your outgoing flights from Manchester Airport. We leave Wales & Cornwall with friendships made and renewed, and a greater sense of appreciation for the unique history and culture claimed by these delightfully rural corners of the British Isles!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How Do I Lock in My Place on This Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

What is a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks that are oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion.

If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

How is Airfare Arranged?

The official start point for this Adventure is our hotel in Wells near the Bristol Airport (BRS) and the finish point is our hotel very near to Manchester Airport (MAN).

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Laura Pfahler: 503.434.6401 or [email protected]
Sharon Mitchell: 971.261.2091 or [email protected]

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

Allianz
Betins
Travel Guard
Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels This Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants would receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Some suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances can, in rare circumstances, force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

COVID-19 Policies For This Tour

WAI has relaxed our policies and currently require no mitigation procedures (current WAI Coronavirus Policy). However, Walking Adventures International policy includes endeavoring to comply with any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

We are not currently aware of any COVID-19 policies or restrictions that will impact this tour in England and Wales.

WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

Travelers participating in the Hiking Coastal Cornwall and Hidden Gems of Wales tour must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (June 23, 2023) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Hiking Coastal Cornwall & Hidden Gems of Wales are WAI classics—enriching the travel experience by offering a walker’s perspective on the history, culture, and natural wonders of our planet. We invite you to join us for this delectable exploration of Cornwall, Devon, & Wales!