Now that the sun is shining, there’s no excuse not to get out and enjoy the fresh air of the countryside. Gather the family together, pack a picnic and enjoy some old-fashioned childhood pleasures, from crabbing in rockpools and exploring hidden coves, to following in the footsteps of giants.
We asked the South West Coast Path team to pick out some of their favourite walks and vistas from the English countryside. Here’s what they picked:
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
The Kimmeridge Ledges provide some of the best rockpooling along the Jurassic Coast at low tide. Older children will also enjoy the circular walk around Kimmeridge Bay, which runs along a chalk ridge with great views over the coast and countryside. It continues past Clavell’s Tower, built in 1830 as an observatory and folly and recently reconstructed, before it leads you to the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve in the bay and the picturesque thatched village of Kimmeridge.
Bagging the views in North Devon
Ideal for families, the coastline of north Devon followsthe Tarka Trail, a 180-mile cycle route along the old railway line which flanks the south side of the Taw Estuary. So-called because it takes in the coastal landscapes that inspired children’s author Henry Williamson to create his classic nature tale Tarka the Otter, the trail is completely flat and well-surfaced, making it ideal for pushchairs. A short circular route begins in Croyde and takes in the headland of Baggy Point with spectacular views towards Hartland Point and Lundy Island on the seaward horizon.
Dartmouth and Little Dartmouth Devon
Catch crabs on the embankment, join in the annual Crab Festivalor , and take a walk from Little Dartmouth to Dartmouth Castle – a circuit full of character and interest with lovely views from the cliffs, the tang of the sea close up on the rocky shore, the rich history of the castle and the beautiful River Dart. Plus, there are regular shore walks led by marine biologists from resident diver and TV presenter’s new Dartmouth based business Monty Halls Great Escapes.
Follow in giants’ footsteps along Mount’s Bay, Cornwall
An easy walk from Penzance along surfaced paths that are suitable for pushchair and mobility aids offers great views across Mount’s Bay and out towards the Lizard and Mousehole. At low tide, take a ten-minute stroll across the causeway from Marazion to St Michael’s Mount, which according to legend was home to a giant who was lured to his death by a brave local boy. Children will love hunting for the giant’s stone heart etched in the pathway.
Tintagel – King Arthur and the Slate Coast
Tintagel is a firm family favourite with a choice of short circular walks to bring the legendary birthplace of King Arthur to life in the imaginations of children and adults. Here, you can explore the ruins of the 13th century castle and at low tide, venture into Merlin’s Cave where if you look closely you may be able to find a hidden seam where smugglers used to hide. The Battle of Camlann, Arthur’s last battle, is re-enacted every year in August and a great tourist attraction. A magical 5-mile route suitable for older children, takes in the castle, Tintagel Church and the cove of Trebarwith Strand.