Should we walk the North Downs Way ?
WE ARE CONTEMPLATING A WALK IN THE UK IN SEPTEMBER. WE ARE TOSSING UP BETWEEN THE COAST TO COAST (WEMBURY TO LYNMOUTH) OR NORTH DOWNS WAY. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE OLD BUILDINGS AND CASTLES AS WELL AS NICE COUNTRYSIDE, WHICH WOULD BE THE BETTER CHOICE?
These are both classic British walks, but very different in character. Do you want postcard England or a walk on the wild side? The North Downs Way is a 246-kilometre ramble, mostly through the gentle and well manicured countryside of southern England. You need about 12 days for the full walk and it’s easy going for the most part although some of the section between Guildford and Reigate will have you panting. The Devon Coast to Coast Walk is 163 kilometres and it’s also known as the Two Moors Way, since it takes in Dartmoor and Exmoor. It’s a tough walk in places and some navigational skill is required when crossing the moors where waymarking is scarce. Jagged granite tors, medieval clapper bridges, wooded valleys and the contented farmland of mid-Devon are among its attractions. In its passage across Exmoor the trail crosses steep-sided river valleys, rounded grassy hills and ancient oak woodlands. The North Downs Way is more popular, it travels through highly populated zones and you can expect more walkers, and it is also well supplied with places to overnight and dine. In either case you’d be well advised to book through a walking tour specialist such as Contours , who can arrange accommodation and gear transfers. The Devon Coast to Coast walk begins at Ivybridge, Wembury is about 18 kilometres to the south-west.
This question and answer first appeared in The Tripologist column of Fairfax’s Traveller. Read more at www.traveller.com.au