We might live on a relatively small island but England’s countryside is definitely varied which is fantastic news for us walkers, as provides us with many different opportunities to find walks that suit our mood. The South Coast of England is a beautiful part of the world ranging from sandy beaches to rocky cliff edges and all in between, which means there are too many stunning walks to cover, so I’ll hand pick some personal favourites.
Ramsgate Let’s start over in the East of the south coast of England in Ramsgate. Walking the Ramsgate, Kent coast is a beautiful experience steeped in over 300 years of history and offering some wonderful natural wildlife and manmade architecture along the way. There are many ways to see this area of the south coast of England, be it along the beaches from Ramsgate to Margate, the cliff top walk from Ramsgate to Broadstairs or the Contra Trail from Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay; all really different walks offering quite different scenery and showcasing different aspects of the area. You’d be best to decide what sort of walk you’re after, sand between your toes, café lined cliff tops or nature reserve walking from the hustle and bustle of Ramsgate through to the natural peace and tranquillity of Pegwell Bay.
Sussex Moving a little West along the south coast of England brings you to beautiful Sussex, and we think you’ll love the Eastbourne to Seaford walk. This is a dramatic cliff walk starting at Eastbourne’s promenade and passing through Beachy Head as the South Downs meets the sea, Cuckemere Haven and Seven Sisters. In the summer months there are opportunities to have a dip in the ocean along the way and during the colder months the coastal views will be more than enough to keep you happy The area is on a well serviced bus route so there is no need to worry about the linear nature of this walk, you will easily find your way back if you’re happy to hop on a bus once your walk is complete. The beauty of this south coast of England walk is the undulating and magnificent cliffs that you will meet along the way. You can’t fail to be in awe, these cliffs are thought to have been formed by glacier meltwater at the end of the last Ice Age which carved steep sided valleys that became eroded by the sea and formed the beautiful cliffs we see today.
Dorset Following the south coast of England to the west we reach Dorset and the breath taking Lulworth Cove area. This is England's first natural world heritage site, and it is said that in 95 miles you can walk through 185 million years of history in just one week. If you don’t have a week, don’t worry! There are plenty of shorter walks that will equally take your breath away. The obvious highlight of this area is the Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic coastline that can be reached by a walk down to a sand and shingle beach. A short but reasonably steep walk will bring you to Lulworth Cove, a beautiful little village set in a remarkable, almost full circle cove with quaint tea rooms, pubs and a scattering of shops to enjoy. The water is blue and calm here and at low tide there are some wonderful rock pools to explore. The Studland Heath nature reserve is also important to mention and well worth a visit. These dunes and heathland support threatened species such as the nightjar, sand lizard and ladybird spider. Some of the best views of the heath sweeping down to the shores of Poole Harbour are from the Agglestone – a 400 tonne rock sitting up on a hill alone, it’s very dramatic. There is wide range of habit here including sand dunes, bogs and fresh water lagoons. This is a beautiful part of the south coast of England that is not to be missed.
Cornwall Moving west again we reach the undeniably picturesque Cornwall, which offers rugged windswept landscape through to stunning sandy beaches. We love the Porthcurno to St Ives walks in West Cornwall on the landsend peninsula and about as far West as you can get on the South Coast of England. This whole route will take you a few days but can certainly be broken down into small walks, depending what you are after. Porthcurno offers a beautiful, sweeping bay with some of the clearest waters you’ll find in Cornwall and during summer months if you’re lucky you may find seals and basking sharks, a real treat. Along the route you’ll pass through Sennen Cove and on a summers night the open air Minack Theatre is a magical experience. St Ives is treat in itself too, being Cornwall’s most famous town this seaside is seemingly a subtropical oasis where the beaches are golden and beautiful vegetation surrounds.
These walks are just scratching the surface of the striking south coast of England and I could continue to waffle, but the best thing to do is to go along and find out for yourself, you really won’t be disappointed.