Martin Hockey's Walk from Oxford to Land's End

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Practicalities

Planning the route

I used the Long Distance Path Chart to plan the overall route from Oxford to the start of the South West Coast Path at Poole. I needed detailed Ordnance Survey maps to plan the route from the end of the Ridgeway National Trail to the start of the Avon Valley Path at Salisbury.

For a map of my route, click here. For my day-by-day log, click here.

Route finding on the ground from the end of the Ridgeway was fair, although some of the paths were little used and overgrown. The Avon Valley Path was mostly well waymarked and maintained, but with a definite improvement when I crossed the county boundary from Wiltshire to Hampshire.

I timed my walk to make sure that I would arrive at Kimmeridge when the Lulworth Range Walks are open (i.e. at a weekend). That is a dramatic stretch of coast, and definitely worth doing. I was less concerned about the other army ranges en route - I was unlucky on Salisbury Plain and lucky at Tregantle.

River crossings in South Devon and Cornwall required attention to tide tables and ferry timetables. The South West Coast Path Guide has details of both.

Accommodation

I stayed at B&Bs and youth hostels. I booked accommodation in advance for the first 4 nights. On the coast, where there is generally more accommodation, I found accommodation by ringing round the morning or the day before I needed it. That mostly worked well at the time of year (June and early July). But there are some stretches where B&Bs were sparse (East Dorset and around Start Point) and I was lucky to find somewhere at short notice. Saturday nights were busy, and I should have booked in advance then.

Costs for B&B varied from 22 to 45 a night. I noticed that B&B's were more expensive than when I walked the north Cornwall coast in 2004 - the yachtie places like Dartmouth and Salcombe were quite pricey.

Guidebooks

The South West Coast Path Guide (South West Coast Path Association, annually): up to date and includes details of accommodation.

SWCP Reverse Guide (South West Coast Path Association, 2006): the only guide written from Land's End to Minehead, but now out of print.

Cornwall Coast Path - Bude to Plymouth by Edith Schofield and others (Trailblazer, 2012): I found the detailed sketch maps very useful, even though I was walking in the "wrong" direction. (I used an earlier edition, which only covered Padstow to Falmouth.)  There is now also a Trailblazer guide to the Dorset and South Devon section from Plymouth to Poole: South West Coast Path: Dorset & South Devon Coast Path - Plymouth to Poole Harbour Part 3   by Henry Stedman (2013).

Coastwalk: Walking the Coastline of England and Wales by Andrew McCloy (Coronet, 1997): by the author of the LEJOG bible. Out of print, but sometimes available used. This book will convince you that most of the coast of England cannot compare with the South West Coast Path.

Maps

To navigate from Oxford to the south coast I mostly used Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (1:25,000). On the coast path, it was pretty difficult to get lost (just keep the sea on your left), but it was good to have the OS maps.

I used these maps:

OS 1:50,000 (Landranger): 173, 192, 201, 204, 203

OS 1:25,000 (Explorer): 170, 130, OL22, OL15, 116, OL20

Websites

Long Distance Paths
Army Ranges

Accommodation
Other walkers' websites

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Updated May 2015. Copyright Martin Hockey 2015.
email: mhockey29@gmail.com