England's longest national trail puts campers in some scenic camping spots.
Winding its way along the coast of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset, the South West Coast Path is England’s most epic hike. Measuring in at 630 miles, it’s the longest National Trail in the country, and takes a whopping 52 days to complete. Instead, most hikers opt for day- or multi-day hikes, perhaps along the sea cliffs of West Cornwall, through the windswept moorlands of the Exmoor National Park, or on Dorset’s World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Spectacular views are a given, but you can also swim and surf at the many beaches, enjoy bird-watching around the estuaries, and camp at ocean view campsites.
The most popular time to hike the South West Coast Path is from April through September, but the trail is accessible year-round. Come in spring to spot lambs and colourful wildflowers or in summer to swim at the beaches and admire the headlands blanketed in purple heather. Warm clothes and wet weather gear are essential for autumn and winter hikes, but this is also one of the best times for bird-watching. Book at least three months in advance if visiting in July-Aug.