Our hike along the Southwest Coastal path and a bit of Wild Camping – No Kids!

IMG_8349Sometimes, just sometimes, you need to go on an adventure and sometimes, just sometimes, it’s without the kids! My friend and I decided we needed to get down to nature and away from the everyday life of electrical gadgets, school runs and the fast pace of life. But we wanted to challenge ourselves too.

We walked the South West Coastal Path with our lives on our backs: we took our tents, food, water, cooking utensils, spare clothes and of course a bottle of wine and headed off for our journey.

The South West Coast Path offers 630 miles of beautiful scenery, there are lots of different walks from easy to moderate and some of it can be challenging but every bit is worth it.

IMG_8345Westward Ho to Clovelly, and beyond to the Hartland Peninsular, has easy and challenging stretches and so you can choose to try it all or depending on your level of fitness/ability chop it up a little. There are regular bus services between towns and villages so you can plan your journey back if you do not want to retrace your steps on foot. We parked the car at Clovelly and then took the bus to start our journey.

Some of the terrain was challenging especially with my very large backpack: the hardest thing I found were the manmade steps up some very steep inclines but the view at the end of each challenging point was amazing.

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Sunset was approaching and it was time to find a place to pitch our tents, we found an amazing place with fab views (if you do go wild camping just make sure you set up just before dark, pack away early in the morning and most importantly leave things exactly as you found them. Follow these rules and you should be ok. There are lots of wild camping websites but none really share their actual locations or it wouldn’t be wild would it!).

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Sunrise, cup of tea, sea view, couldn’t be better!

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Then we packed away and began the rest of our trek to Clovelly. This village really is a throwback in time, cobbled streets (very steep), no traffic and an amazing relaxed and quaint atmosphere. We walked past the New Inn Hotel where we could smell breakfast! A friendly lady was sweeping outside and we asked on the off chance if they sold breakfast: to cut a long story short she arranged for us to have a cooked breakfast with the residents, oh my, I think it was the most amazing breakfast I had ever had! It is amazing how quickly we appreciate toast and tea and this was only after one night sleeping rough!

Clovelly itself is amazing but you do have to pay to enter if you arrive by car, if you are following the Southwest Walking path then it takes you through the village without going via the main centre.

Beyond Clovelly you will find the Hartland Peninsular, a dramatic change to the landscape with waterfalls, dolphins, magical scenery and more. We walked for about an hour and our time was up so we retraced our steps to Clovelly. If the first hour is anything to go by The Hartland Peninsular has to be next on my list to discover!

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Watch out for angry pheasants, this is Phil, he wasn’t very happy, at first he was chatting and following me along the track but after about 20 minutes he began pecking at my ankles! Obviously didn’t like my trousers.

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What amazed me the most was how varied the terrain was along this stretch of the South West Coastal Path in such a short area, from woodlands, to fields, to grazing marsh land to waterfalls and rocks……I will definitely return, next time maybe with the kids…

This was just what we needed, we felt reenergised, at one with nature again, and ready to get back to our everyday lives even if I did have massive blisters !!! It’s ok I won’t add that picture…

You can find more about the Southwest Path here: http://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/?lid=DH-080301-01

Or Clovelly: http://www.clovelly.co.uk/

Or the Hartland Peninsular: http://www.hartlandpeninsula.co.uk/what-will-you-see

and here is some great reading that is inspiring my family friends and I for a little more adventure:

For solo adventures maybe with one or two friends try Phoebe Smith – Wilderness Weekends which gave us the inspiration to visit the South West Coastal Path (we thought about sleeping on Peppercombe beach but it was just too loud! (the waves that is!): http://www.phoebe-smith.com/home/books-2/

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For micro adventures with family and friends or solo if you prefer try Alastiar Humophreys, Micro Adventures. The reason I mention family and friends for this one is that he really will get the couch potato out of almost anyone!There is also a section on his website for kids microadventures. http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventures-3/ – this book is going to be my Christmas present to everyone!

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Just as if by magic, while writing this I received and email with news from the National Trust that new research reveals that a walk by the coast will help you sleep an extra 47 minutes a night, well there you go!!! That will be the topic for my next blog post!