- Getting started walking
- Tips for walking with diabetes
- How often should I exercise?
- How many calories will I burn?
- Is walking a good workout?
- Warm up for walking
- Walking for health
- Pregnancy and walking
- Walking can help our overweight youngsters
- Walking helps in fight against obesity
- Avoid travel chaos: walk to work!
- Diet Coke nutrition info
- 10 reasons to take up walking
- Walking facts
- Finding motivation
- How a good walk can help with stress
- A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
- St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
- Bawsey Church near King's Lynn, Norfolk
- Walking Facts and Figures
- Rambling: how to get started
- Footpath Erosion
- Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
- An Introduction to the Hadrian's Wall Path
- An Introduction to the Pennine Way
- An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
- An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
- Public Rights of Way FAQ
- A Guide to Walking in Britain
- More Than a Walk
An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
The Coast to Coast Walk is one of the most popular long-distance walks in the country. It was devised by the late Alfred Wainwright in the early 1970s, and links the Irish Sea to the North Sea via the hills, moors and valleys of northern England.
The 190-mile route (304 km) crosses three national parks: the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. It is scenic, but high-level, and visits only two towns of any real size (Kirkby Stephen and Richmond, North Yorkshire). Accordingly, accommodation is limited, and walkers are advised to plan carefully and book ahead in peak periods. And remember, any walk of 190 miles is a major undertaking, so be prepared.
Walking the Coast to Coast
The route is traditionally walked from west to east (St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay), so that the prevailing weather will be coming from behind. But others choose to begin on the Yorkshire coast, so as to have the Lake District section as a grand finale. Similarly, the walk can be as long or as short as you want. Some people prefer to walk it in weekend sections, but most walk it continuously, averaging between 10-14 days in total.
The Coast to Coast Walk offers a variety of scenery and terrain for the walker. The valleys and arable land make for straightforward walking, but the hills - particularly in the Lake District - are high and the gradients sometimes steep. Many stages are bare and exposed, such as the North York Moors, and help may not always be close to hand. Unless you are an experienced long-distance walker, it is advisable to take a companion. And before you set off, make sure you have the necessary:
- map and compass skills
- fitness and stamina - walk and exercise as much as possible beforehand
- clothing and equipment - even in summer, conditions on the tops can change dramatically, so take appropriate warm and wet-weather clothing, sufficient food and drink, and make sure your boots are broken-in and comfortable.
The Coast to Coast Walk is not an official national trail, and is generally not waymarked. While it is fairly easy to follow through the national parks (the route is coincidental with the Cleveland Way and Lyke Wake Walk over some of the North York Moors) there are stretches where minor re-routing is taking place, due to erosion or disputes over rights of way. One area to pay close attention to is the stretch between Orton and Upper Swaledale (around Sunbiggin Tarn, and just east of Nine Standards Rigg). If in doubt, consult both guidebook and the two new Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure maps and proceed with care, making sure you follow the Country Code and respect the beauty of the countryside.
The number of farmhouses, inns and B&Bs is never plentiful, especially towards the eastern end (from Richmond to Glaisdale), and in the summer months it is advisable to book in advance, even for the youth hostels.
There are 13 YHA hostels on or near the route, and YHA camping barns at the eastern end where the hostels are less numerous. The YHA operate a hostel booking service for Coast to Coast walkers (see below). Campers will of course enjoy greater flexibility, with a number of good sites in the Lake District section in particular, but elsewhere sites become more scarce. Remember to seek the landowner's permission if you wish to camp on private land.
Guidebooks and maps
All three guidebooks include route description and rough maps. Wainwright's original was revised in 1994, and now incorporates a number of inevitable route adjustments that have had to be made since it was first was published in 1972. Terry Marsh's title incorporates new route sections that avoid eroded stretches of path and excessive road-walking.
s The Coast to Coast Walk by Paul Hannon (Hillside Publications, 11 Nessfield Grove, Keighley, West Yorks BD22 6NU, £7.50)
s A Northern Coast-to-Coast Walk by Terry Marsh (Cicerone Press, 2 Police Square, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7PY, £7.99)
The two specially-designed OS Outdoor Leisure maps for the trail (at a scale of 1:25 000) show amongst other things campsites, youth hostels and public rights of way. Outdoor Leisure 33: Coast to Coast West (St Bees to Keld) and 34: Coast to Coast East (Keld to Robin Hood's Bay) cost £4.99 each and are available from OS stockists (contact the OS: tel 01703 792792). Please note that these maps cannot be purchased from the Ramblers' Association.
YHA Coast to Coast Booking Bureau, YHA Northern Region, PO Box 11, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 2XA - enclose large SAE (tel 01426 939215, 24 hours); Coast to Coast Packhorse (daily baggage transportation service for walkers), contact Mr & Mrs Bowman, tel 017683 71680. Several walking holiday operators cover the Coast to Coast route, and most can arrange accommodation as well as luggage transfer: Countrywide Holidays, Grove House, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2HU (tel 0161 446 2226); Footpath Holidays, 16 Norton Bavant, Nr Warminster, Wilts BA12 7BB (tel 01985 840049); In Step Linear Walking Holidays, 35 Cokeham Road, Lancing, West Sussex BN15 0AE (tel 01903 766475); Youth Hostels Association, Trevelyan House, 8 St Stephen's Hill, St Albans, Herts AL1 2DY (tel 01727 855215); Sherpa Expeditions, 0181-577 2717 (also do door to door luggage transfer on the route).
Railway: St Bees connects with the west coast main line at Carlisle (to the north) and Lancaster (south, change at Barrow). Although there is no station at Robin Hood's Bay, there is a fairly frequent bus service to Whitby and Scarborough (trains to York).