The Devon Coast-to-Coast Walk
Plymouth to Minehead, 118 miles
Part 2 of the End to End Walk from Land's End to John O'Groats



Let's first admit that the name, the Devon Coast to Coast Walk, is a little bit of a misnomer as some 25 miles of the route is in Somerset. But that's only a small point and one that doesn't alter the nature, or indeed the purpose, of the walk.

The route is based largely on the Two Moors Way, though with modufications. Firstly it's necessary to get from Plymouth to Ivybridge, the start of the official TMW;  I originally plotted a series of local footpaths leading away from the coast at Bovisand Bay and travelling via Yealmpton, but the subsequent creation of the Earme-Plym link provided a superior route which I adopted as a revision. Within Dartmoor itself the route forsakes the TMW in favour of a route via Dartmeet, a place of absolute charm which should on no account be missed. Chagford, where the TMW is rejoined, is a further day's walk from Dartmeet. The route between the two is somewhat arbitary but Postbridge is recommended as a midday staging post.

The route then crosses the gentle, undulating farm country of mid-Devon, using the Two Moors Way. The scenery is pretty but the walk can be hard work, with as much ascent per day as in the Dartmoor section. The final stage of the walk crosses Exmoor, where miles of unimproved heath are interspersed with wooded valleys and chocolate box villages. At Withypool the route leaves the Two Moors Way for Exford and Dunkerey Beacon before reaching the coast at Porlock. The final day's walk to Minehead lays along the Somerset Coastal Path.

I included this section in my End to End walk specifically to include Dartmoor in my itinerary. It's a national park and is one of England's finest walking areas. Up there among the tors (rock outcrops) you can really stride out and the miles seem to glide effortlessly away beneath your feet; the gradients are gentle, the ground is firm, and the views are extensive; views that, more often than not, encompass vast areas of open space without another human being in sight.

Dartmoor has a certain reputation for being hazardous. It isn't. Its reputation has much to do with a certain Sherlock Holmes novel, and perhaps the fact that an army firing range occupies part of the northwestern sector of the moor. If you don't believe in spectral hounds and you don't venture onto the moor in wet or misty conditions you'll be perfectly OK and will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Exmoor is less extensive than Dartmoor, is admittedly less scenic, and also (unfortunately) offers less blanket access. A route such as this, which has Minehead as as its destination, must of necessity miss out the best bits of Exmoor anyway. It's also logistically awkward to follow the Two Moors Way here as this route heads northwestwards to Lynmouth. By all means modify my route and explore the Doone Valley and Lynmouth if you wish. But the final day, from Porlock to Minehead, is a walk of pure delight and shows off Exmoor at its best.


Dartmoor is about the nearest that England gets to wilderness. It's a vast moorland plateau, largely uninhabited and uncultivated. Although you're never actually further than five miles or so from a motor road or habitation, the moor should nevertheless be treated with respect; the warning to dress properly (in proper boots and adequate clothing) and to carry a day's food and drink with you, is repeated. Always have waterproofs and extra warm clothing with you; in warm sunny weather take twice as much fluid as you think you'll need. Always have a map (the O.S. 1:25,000 Dartmoor Outdoor Leisure Map is superb) with you, and preferably a guidebook as well. If ever you get lost or misted out then simply walk downhill and keep going; before long you'll find a stream to follow and more often than not a path will accompany it. Eventually you'll come out at a road somewhere.

Backpacking is an option but camping is more difficult than you might think and there are few opportunities for camping wild, even on Dartmoor. It's officially frowned on, though in practice you'll be OK as long as you remain out of sight of any road or building and leave ABSOLUTELY NO TRACE of your stay. Don't light fires; use a proper stove. A couple of my daily destinations (particularly Dartmeet) have no accommodation.

If you do the walk using public transport hubs then Plymouth is good for the first three days, then Newton Abbot for another two, then Barnstaple for the middle section and finally any north coast town (Lynmouth, Porlock or preferably Minehead) for the last two stages. Transport needs careful planning here and there, particularly at weekends and on public holidays. Extra bus services are laid on over both Dartmoor and Exmoor on summer weekends and these can be very useful PROVIDED you have up-to-date information. Call in at the local tourist information office wherever you are staying.

Finally, follow the country code, a set of common-sense rules that are mainly about leaving things as you found them and not causing nuisance or damage. A lot of those blocked footpaths are blocked because too many ramblers are irresponsible and cause annoyance to farmers and landowners. Behave yourself, but above all, enjoy yourself.

The various one-day walks that make up the Devon Coast-to-Coast:

(Click the links for the individual walk indexes and photo galleries)
1 Plymouth to Yealmpton 9.85 miles
2 Yealmpton to Ivybridge 8.0 miles
3 Ivybridge to Dartmeet 14.72 miles
4 Dartmeet to Chagford 13.9 miles
5 Chagford to Morchard Road 16.7 miles
6 Morchard Road to Witheridge 9.6 miles
7 Witheridge to Jubilee Inn 9.15 miles
8 Jubilee Inn to Exford 13.5 miles
9 Exford to Porlock 8.46 miles
10 Porlock to Minehead 8.29 miles


  Dartmoor National Park
  Exmoor National Park
  The Two Moors Way

South Cornwall Coast Path Back to main index Somerset Way

This page last updated 29th December 2007