Safety First on the South West Coast Path
We cannot emphasise enough the need to take care when walking on the Coast Path, whether it's on the South West Coast Path or anywhere else! It is beautiful and stunning, but also rugged and, in places, tough! There are pitfalls (literally) for the unwary or inexperienced and even experienced walkers must show a healthy respect for the terrain.
Please follow the Coast Path Safety Code:
- Keep to the path, away from cliff edges and overhangs. Overhangs can often be seen in advance so remember to keep your eyes open for those strangely eroded shapes which will often give a clue to a dangerous overhang. They can, and do - periodically - collapse and you do not want to be close to one when it does!
- Always supervise children, especially near cliff edges.
- Walking surfaces can vary considerably with the weather, becoming slippery and unstable underfoot. Always wear strong footwear with a good grip and ankle support.
- Listen to the local weather forecast and wear or carry warm and waterproof clothing. Even in summer (yes, our British summer!) a light waterproof jacket in your day bag is a good precaution.
- Cliff-top walking can be dangerous in high winds, as the path can be very exposed and winds buffet the walker from all sides, causing a loss of balance.
- Beware of taking a shortcut across beaches - you may be cut off by the tide. Swimming can also be dangerous on some beaches so look out for the lifesaving station and give cautious consideration to swimming on lonely beaches.
- Do not sit under cliffs or climb them.
- Keep dogs under close control.
- The Coast Path is managed for walkers; it is not safe and it is in places, unlawful to cycle or ride horses along it.
- If the weather forecast is very bad, give careful consideration to whether you are actually going to tackle that particular day's walk. If your decision is to 'go for it' then ensure that your accommodation host is aware of your set off time and that your next accommodation host is aware of your anticipated time of arrival.