COAST to COAST, England
England's most popular walk - 307 km, 17 days
BRITAIN'S COAST TO COAST WALK is one of the best known walks in England. This hiking trail across the northern part of England takes walkers through three of the country's most famous and scenic national parks: the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park.
IN ADDITION TO THE SCENERY, the journey along the Coast to Coast hiking trail also offers walkers the opportunity to travel through history. The route passes through sites and settlements lived in by the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and later the Normans. Britain’s tumultuous history was played out in this region.
A.W. Wainwright was the creator of this popular walk which he described in his 1973 book "A Coast to Coast Walk". Although the path has changed a little since Wainwright designed it, his book is still regarded as the Holy Bible amongst walkers.
The Coast to Coast hiking trail is 307 km long and for those contemplating this trail for their walking holiday in England, careful planning is required. Apart from the duration of the walk, the weather can present unexpected challenges.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALK: Coast to Coast Route: Starting from St. Bees in the Irish Sea, the 307 km hiking trail goes eastwards and ends at Robin Hood's Bay on the North Sea. There are some rough sections where the gradient is steep, such as the high passes in the Lake District and then there are stretches of mostly level ground as well.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS: High Street, the old Roman road, just comes up over the great hill seemingly without any effort. And then there’s Richmond Castle built by Alan Rufus, one of William the Conqueror’s lieutenants. At Grasmere, make sure you take the opportunity to visit Dove Cottage, one of William Wordsworth’s homes.
WALKING ROUTE PLANNER: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your Coast to Coast walking holiday to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the town or village in which you will end your day. It's also nice to plan on arriving a little earlier in a village if there are interesting attractions you may like to visit, such as in Grasmere. We did the walk in 17 days, however it's also possible to do it in about 12 days.
Odin's Last Rune
READ THIS COMPANION GUIDE BEFORE YOU WALK
Your COMPANION GUIDE to the Coast to Coast Walk
Wainwright's Coast to Coast.
This will prepare you for your journey and give you that "edge" which can make a hiking trail so enjoyable.
17 DAYS ITINERARY
SITES to visit
SIGHTS to see
HISTORY - Anglo-Saxons
STORIES - Vikings
INVASION - Normans
WHAT TO PACK
AN IDEAL COMPANION GUIDE for all walkers setting out on the English Coast to Coast Walk.
Almis Simans, author of Odin’s Last Rune, a guidebook on the trek, did it in 17 days, stopping in different villages, and staying in B&Bs and inns. “Accommodation is the most important thing,” he says. “It can be arranged by a company, like Sherpa Expeditions, who can also take your heavy luggage.” What Almis found most fascinating about the walk was how steeped in history the area is.
- Tom Lawrie, Top Treks: Coast to Coast Walk, AG Outdoor February 2012
ITINERARY for the Coast to Coast - 307 km
The following is an outline of the 18-day walk itinerary that we chose. We decided on this itinerary because of the reasonable distances and the available accommodation.
- Begin at: St Bee’s, Cumbria.
- How to get there: Take a train from London’s Euston station to Carlisle, then change trains for St. Bees (5 ½ hours).
Walking itinerary: 18 days (we recommend an extra day at Richmond)
- Day 1. St Bees - Cleator (14.5km)
- A pleasant seaside start to the walk. Remember to dip your boot toe in the Irish Sea to officially start your walk.
- Day 2. Ennerdale Bridge (8km)
- From Cleator you gradually approach Lakeland, the province of poets and walkers. Ennerdale Bridge is the first of the Lake District villages we stay in.
- Day 3. Stonethwaite (22.5km)
- Some good ascents today. Up near ‘Haystacks’, Wainwright’s beloved peaks, over to Seatoller and down to the picturebook village of Stonethwaite.
- Day 4. Grasmere (14.5km)
- More valleys and hills to ascend, but with great views. Down to Grasmere and a visit to Dove Cottage, one of William Wordsworth’s homes.
- Day 5. Patterdale (13km)
- The aspiring walker can choose to walk along the ridge of Helvellyn or along the valley to reach the picturesque village of Patterdale.
- Day 6. Bampton Grange (20km)
- Kidsty Pike, the highest point for Coast to Coast walkers is encountered today, along with the old Roman road called High Street.
- Day 7. Orton (19.5km)
- We leave the Lake District behind and make our way over the rolling plains to arrive at the quiet village of Orton.
- Day 8. Kirkby Stephen (21km)
- Lush, green countryside. Sunbiggin Tarn with its waterfowl, and then to Kirkby Stephen. Visit St. Stephen’s church with its famous Loki Stone. We suggest an extra day at Kirkby Stephen, if you need a rest.
- Day 9. Keld (19km)
- We now enter the Yorkshire Dales and a steady climb up to the Nine Standards, a group of stone cairns. Then down to the village of Keld, our half way point.
- Day 10. Reeth (17.5km)
- Along the Swale Valley, passing old Viking settlements such as Gunnerside and arrive at the solid village of Reeth.
- Day 11. Richmond (17.5km)
- Walking along Applegarth Scar and Whitcliffe Woods we arrive at one of William the Conqueror’s towns – Richmond. We suggest an extra day here, to explore Richmond Castle, the narrow medieval lanes and the restaurants.
- Day 12. Danby Wiske (22.5km)
- From Richmond it is a long and flat walk to Danby Wiske, situated at the lowest point on the walk.
- Day 13. Osmotherly (16km)
- A fairly level walk. Visit the churchyard at Bolton-on-Swale to view the memorial to 169 year old Henry Jenkins.
- Day 14. Urra (19.5km)
- The beginning of the North York Moors and the interesting, yet demanding valleys of the area.
- Day 15. Blakey (14.5km)
- From Urra we proceed through the open moors to the wonderful Lion Inn dating from around 1553.
- Day 16. Egton Bridge (14.5km)
- From Blakey, there are more moors to cross, so make sure you have a map and compass, in case of heavy fogs. Egton Bridge is a pleasant village to arrive in after the moors.
- Day 17. Little Beck (10km)
- Take the opportunity to travel on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Goathland where you can visit the TV village of Aidensfield (from the Heartbeat series).
- Day 18. Robin Hood’s Bay (22.5km) - your destination!
- Nearly there. More moor walking and then a three mile walk on the cliffs above the North Sea, before arriving at your destination and a welcome drink at the Bay Hotel.
- How to get back from Robin Hood’s Bay: Taxi to Whitby and trains to London via Middlesborough. Another option is: Bus or taxi to Scarborough railway station. Train to York, then change trains for London King's Cross (3½ hours).
Walking west to east is the recommended way as you have the prevailing winds behind you. Robin Hood’s Bay is a beautiful village with good facilities and staying there for an extra couple of days at the end of the walk is an option. And when you get to Robin Hood's Bay - you'll really be able to say "I've done the Coast to Coast!"