A Discerning Traveller self-guided hiking tour on the rugged Atlantic coast of Cornwall

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Explore the land of legends   find ancient stone circles

Kilmar Tor - a granite summit on Bodmin Moor
Kilmar Tor - a granite summit on Bodmin Moor
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More pictures of Bodmin Moor
Pictures of the south coast (Polperro & Fowey)

Tour details       Tour prices

Cornwall Coast and Bodmin Moor - tour description
Cornwall's north coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Broad surfing beaches alternate with wave-battered cliffs. Our tour starts with 2 nights at the quaint little fishing village of Port Isaac, tucked into a steep-sided gap in the rugged line of cliffs. The first two days are spent hiking along the coast between the sandy shore of the Camel estuary and the legendary site of King Arthur's castle at Tintagel. From Tintagel our route strikes inland across the wide open spaces and granite tors (rocky summits) of Bodmin Moor, to Jamaica Inn (notorious as the haunt of wreckers in Daphne du Maurier's novel, and still open for lunch…). After a night at the remote and pretty village of Altarnun you continue over the moor past Kilmar Tor to the 3 prehistoric stone circles at Minions known as the 'Hurlers'. Close by at Darite is the massive Neolithic tomb of Trethevy Quoit. From Darite you descend by way of a scenic branch line railway to the south coast to stay at Polperro, a picturesque fishing harbour flanked by awesome rocks. Cornwall's south coast is as steep and rugged as the north, but facing the sun it has a subtropical quality with luxuriant vegetation and sheltered sandy coves. The tour ends with a ferry crossing to Fowey, an historic port and sailing resort clinging to the steep shoreline of its winding estuary.
The coastal walking days can be shortened by using local buses (timetables are provided); while for the full 2 days of hiking across Bodmin Moor (where basic navigation skills with map and compass are advisable) we also describe easy alternative low-level routes in case of bad weather.
This tour, with steep gradients on the coastal paths as well as some pathless terrain on the moors, is most suitable for fit and experienced hikers; those who would prefer to remain close to the coast of this part of Cornwall might prefer either our Padstow & Tintagel tour (on the north coast) or our Polperro & Fowey tour (on the south coast). Rather less strenuous, and equally scenic, is the hiking on our Land's End & St Ives route in west Cornwall.

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What a previous customer told us about our tour 'Cornwall Coast & Bodmin Moor'
'All accommodations were good and we enjoyed the range of guest houses…[we particularly liked] the scenery and isolation - being away from the crowds for most of the time…A wonderful holiday, thank you!'
J Coltham and H Heywood.

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Cornwall Coast and Bodmin Moor - tour details 2012
A Discerning Traveller self-led hiking holiday.
Duration. 7 nights. Tour code: B7
Start of tour: Port Isaac. End of tour: Fowey
Dates. Start any day from May to end of September.
Grade. Demanding. The gradients on the coastal path are in places steep and strenuous (Days 2, 3, 7). However the coastal days can readily be shortened by using buses or taxis. Map-reading and basic compass skills are required when crossing Bodmin Moor (Days 4 & 5), but alternative low level routes along the margin of the Moor are also described in case of low cloud (fog).
Train stations. Start of tour Bodmin Parkway train station, then taxi to Port Isaac; or bus from station to Wadebridge (hourly except Sundays), then taxi; end of tour Par train station (hourly bus from Fowey).
Train services. Direct from London Paddington train station via Reading Station to Bodmin Parkway and from Par. Journey time from Paddington 4.5 to 5 hours; from Reading Station 30 minutes less. Also direct trains from Bristol and Exeter to/from Cornwall.
Airports. From London Heathrow airport there is a frequent bus shuttle to Reading Station, where direct Paddington to Cornwall trains stop to pick up passengers. There is also a frequent train service from London Gatwick airport to Reading Station. Bristol airport is served by international flights from continental Europe, and has a frequent shuttle bus service to Bristol Temple Meads train station with some direct trains to Cornwall. Exeter airport is linked by bus with Exeter St David's rail station for frequent fast direct trains to Cornwall stations. Newquay Cornwall airport is approx. an hour's taxi ride from both Port Isaac (start of tour) and Fowey (end of tour).
Overnight stops. Nights 1 and 2 Port Isaac; 3 Tintagel; 4 Altarnun; 5 Minions/Darite; 6 Polperro; 7 Fowey.
Accommodation. Specially selected guest houses and 'B&Bs', mostly with private/en suite bathroom; on nights 4 and 5 private/en suite bathroom is not guaranteed.
Meals included. Breakfast each morning; other meals can be obtained locally.
Extra nights. These can be included at any point on the tour at the time of booking the holiday. A second night at Port Isaac is already included. Devotees of the legendary dark ages warlord King Arthur may consider an extra night at Tintagel, where the evocative ruins of Arthur's castle, now in the care of English Heritage and open to the public, stand on a precipitous rocky island linked by a bridge with the mainland. There are also excellent walks further along the coast between Tintagel and Boscastle. Altarnun offers peace and quiet in pleasant accommodation on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Perhaps the best choice for an extra night with plentiful scenic hiking is Fowey, an historic harbour town occupying a beautiful site on the steep shore of a tidal river. It is only a mile or so from Fowey to novelist Daphne du Maurier's former home at Menabilly (not open to the public but visible from nearby footpaths).
Factsheet. These are more detailed information sheets, one for each tour, which should be obtained from The Discerning Traveller before booking. The Factsheet code for our Cornwall Coast and Bodmin Moor tour is FSB. See Enquiry form.
Reading. For many readers the Cornwall writer par excellence was Daphne du Maurier. Her famous novel Jamaica Inn is set on and around the granite upland of Bodmin Moor, which this tour crosses on Days 4 and 5. You will have a chance to pay a visit at lunchtime to Jamaica Inn itself, which lies near the centre of the Moor. At Altarnun is the church where the sinister albino vicar preached. Du Maurier's novels Rebecca, The House on the Strand and My Cousin Rachel are all set near Fowey.

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Cornwall Coast & Bodmin Moor - tour prices 2012

  • B7 (7 nights tour, ES or private facilities most nights): £560. SRS*: £100.
  • Extra nights £45 per person per night.
  • SRS* = single room supplement (applicable when 3 persons book together).
  • Note 1. Maximum of 1 single room per booking.
  • Note 2. Extra night prices may be higher for single rooms.
  • Note 3. This tour is not available for single travellers.
  • Basic prices quoted are per person on basis of two people in double or twin-bedded rooms. Included in the price are bed and breakfast each night, with baggage transfers, maps and route directions. 'ES' (en suite) facilities means that there is a private bathroom with shower or tub and toilet within the main door of your room. 'Private facilities' means that the private bathroom may be outside the main door of your room.

We offer 3 other walking tours in Cornwall: Lands End & St Ives, Padstow & Tintagel and Polperro & Fowey.

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Our postal address is The Discerning Traveller, 38 Canal Street, OXFORD OX2 6BQ, United Kingdom.
Telephone and fax 0(044) 1865 515618.

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