Home / Walking & Hiking / What is the best season to walk in the South West of England?

What is the best season to walk in the South West of England?

4 mins read    

What is the best season to walk in the South West of England?

Generally, the best season to walk on the South West Coast Path is spring and late summer, this is also the case for many other route within the South West. These are classed as the best seasons to walk in the South West for many reasons. However the paths are open all year round, but there are lots of things to consider when walking in the winter and autumn months of the year.

Footpath During the Spring season

Spring walking in the South West

  • Walking during the spring season means that you will get to enjoy the fresh weather which is great for walking. Of course, there is still uncertainty with the weather, and you may incur the occasional rain shower.
  • Spring is when the world of nature is beginning to wake up. Wild flowers begin to appear, trees start to leaf, lambs are in the fields, an array of birds, and sea animals return due to the slightly warmer climates. Click here to see more information about the Wildlife you could see when walking in the South West during the spring and summer season.
  • Ferries are beginning to operate again after being closed for the winter months.
  • Small cafes are also beginning to reopen after being closed for the winter months.

A section of the South West Coast Path

 Summer walking in the South West

  • Walking in the summer is often slightly harder due to weather ‘usually’ being warmer. However, you could stop off at beaches for a dip in the cool sea.
  • There will be more people out and about.
  • The days are lighter for longer meaning there is less rush for you to complete your walk as early, allowing your more time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that summer brings. You may hear the happy birds, the tractors in the fields and the happiness of people enjoying their days. You may see the beautiful butterflies, flowers in full bloom and sun gleaming over the sea. You may smell the fresh cut grass, the flowers in the hedgerows and the salty sea.
  • Often everything is open, and for longer hours during the summer. The ferries may be more regular.
  • It is highly likely that you will need to book a table for your evening meal in advance due to how busy some of the places along the various paths can get during the height of the summer.


Dartmoor Walking in the Autumn season

Autumn walking in the South West

  • The colours will all be changing; trees will now be gaining their golden, yellow and red leaves, flowers may slowly be fading turning a purple and red colour before winter and the sky turning a beautiful violet and blue completing the colours on the ground.
  • The weather continues to be changeable, however it does tend to remain warm for the beginning part of the season.
  • Many places will be less busy now, meaning that some of the smaller cafes may reduce their opening hours before closing for the winter months.
  • You may catch some beautiful sights of the birds making their way back south to warmer climates.


Winter season walking on the Moors

Winter walking in the South West

  • Walking in the winter season means much more consideration. When walking in the winter ground can be very slippery, and muddy therefore potentially unsafe.
  • The days are much shorter with less daylight. You will need to choose a walk that allows for the short days.
  • The weather is colder and wetter meaning you will have to consider what clothing and equipment you have. For information regarding what to pack please click here.
  • Often the seas are stormy, and great to watch (from a safe distance).
  • Small cafes will often have closed for the winter months.
  • Ferries may have stopped operating for the winter or may be weather dependent meaning that they are often having to cancel last minute due to the changeable weather.


So, to summarise, you can walk any of the paths during any season of the year. Although some times of the year are far safer than others. Depending on what you are intending to gain from your walk will detect when is the best season to walk in the South West for you. If you’d like to get planning for your walk, and need ideas of accommodations in the area, why not visit our accommodation listings.

Unfortunately, due to the changeable weather, safety risks, uncertainty with ferries, and there not being much option of accommodation and restaurants, we do not operate our Luggage Transfer service during the winter months.  Luggage Transfers operate between March and October.

Click here to find out more about the routes we cover.