Coast & Water inspired Foot Trails (walking & hiking trips and tours)

Coast & Water

The atmosphere that water, and the coast, brings to a landscape is unique in so many ways.

Movement, reflections, rapid & powerful, slow & meandering, the sound of tumbling water at the river weir, or the wash of the waves on a pebble beach, a low mist hovering over a lake and the echoing calls of birds.

It’s a feast for the senses and soul.

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We’re always keen to weave water into our Foot Trails whenever we can, from the humble spring, to streams, rivers, lakes, canals and walks by the coast.

With coastal adventures & tales of smuggling, canal side with colourful barges, the mists & rhynes of the flood plain, and the rivers with their ancient mills & weirs. There’s a whole host of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Water brings a different kind of wildlife too. On the river look out for coots & moor hens, the bright flash of a kingfisher, the glide of a white swan, the jump of fish as they snatch an insect. On the coast, cormorants dive, seagulls float on the breeze, peculiar salt hardy plants bloom & grow, and the shells on the beach hint of the world beneath the waves.

Here are a few suggested example itineraries to get you started:

Short Break

Walk through spectacular views and scenery on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Enjoy a beachside stay and walks that hug the coast, venturing to the beauty of Abbotsbury, and one of the best views in South West England
This inn to inn trail features Bath and Bradford upon Avon. Surrounded by wooded hills, graced by beautiful Bath stone buildings, the River Avon flowing through, it's a stunning spot.

Explore the coast

Walking by the coast is an exhilarating experience, the views from the cliffs of the ocean, land meeting sea with the wash of the waves.

But lovely too is that childlike anticipation, can you see the sea yet? Inland views frame the coast, a glimpse here and then it’s gone, as you journey to the coast.

Along the way tales of shipwrecks, smuggling, and the trials of living by the coast. Explore Dorset’s spectacular coastal scenery on our Landscapes and Seascapes and Smuggler’s Tale Foot Trails.

Along the Kennet and Avon canal

The Avon Canals

The canal network in the Avon valleys dates back over 300 years, a solution to being able to move larger and heavier loads of goods to market (the rivers had largely become unnavigable due to the mills and their weirs).

Our Bath & Avon Valley Foot Trail explores both an abandoned canal; stone locks and bridges stand where once water & barges moved. And then to the still working Kennet & Avon, opened in 1723 and 87 miles in total, Two stunning aqueducts carry the canal over the River Avon. Colourful barges still travel the canal today.

Waterways In South West England

Rivers, Mills & Weirs

Some of the most uplifting spots, the calm of a mill pond, or the still of a river behind a weir; then the power of the water is revealed as it thunders through a sluice or tumbles over the weir. Some of the mills across Wessex and The Cotswolds can trace their story back over a 1000 years.

And then there are those wonderful names; the River Windrush (Cotswolds), River Nadder (Wiltshire), River Parrett (Somerset) & River Stour (Dorset). Standing on a bridge, watching the water glide by, spotting the fish beneath the surface, simple joy. If you would like a river trail as part of your adventure let us know.

fishing nets


Smuggling was (allegedly!) the main industry of the coast in the 17th & 18th centuries, but smugglers would characterise themselves as free traders, a worthy trade as opposed to an illegal one. Typically they traded in the most heavily taxed goods, such as silk & tea, before spirits became more prevalent. Rich in tales and folklore these were dangerous times by the coast. 

One Dorset smuggler had the wonderful name of Isaac Gulliver, so successful he had an audience with the King who asked him to stop!

How do our trips work?

A Foot Trail is a self-guided (independent) walking trip. This means you walk independently but benefit from the expert planning, materials and support we provide. 
Itineraries can be from 4 nights to 4 weeks, journeying from inn to inn / place to place. Our trails do not have set start days but we can help advise on what will work best for you and your trip.

Typically you stay for 2 nights at each selected country inn with a different and varied walk each day. It allows for a little less packing & moving on, and a little more exploring like a local. Luggage transfers are included when you hike to your next country inn.

Your itinerary consultant is here to guide you through creating and arranging your Foot Trail. Simply get in touch below to start a conversation.


Like to find out more?

To find out more and request an example itinerary for one of our trails, just pop your details in below or give us a call on +44 (0) 1747 820626.

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