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Walking the Cornish Coast Path: Safety Tips for Solo Hikers

Exploring the Cornish Coast Path offers breath-taking views, a sense of adventure, and a connection with nature that is unparalleled.

However, walking this path alone, especially as a woman, requires careful planning and awareness to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are essential tips to help you navigate the path safely and confidently.


Plan Your Route and Inform Others

Research the Path: Study maps and guidebooks to understand the terrain, distances, and difficulty levels of different sections. Websites like https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk and www.iwalkcornwall.co.uk offer valuable resources and walks already planned so you can follow with ease.

Inform Someone: Always let a trusted person know your planned route, expected time of arrival, and check-in regularly.


Equip Yourself Properly

Right Gear: Wear sturdy hiking boots with good grip. Carry a detailed map, compass, and a fully charged phone with a backup power bank. Walking poles will also help with steadiness.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Be prepared for sudden weather changes. Layers, a waterproof jacket, and a hat are essential.

Essential Supplies: Bring enough water, high-energy snacks, a first-aid kit, a whistle, and a flashlight.


Stay Aware of Natural Hazards

Cliff Edges: The Cornish cliffs are stunning but can be dangerous. Stay well away from the edges, especially in windy conditions or after heavy rain when paths can be slippery.

Tides and Waves: Check tide times before setting out to avoid being cut off by rising water. Beware of large waves and stormy seas, especially on more exposed sections.


Personal Safety Tips for Women Walking Alone

Trust Your Instincts: If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation.

Self-Defence Knowledge: Consider taking a basic self-defence course. Carrying a personal alarm or pepper spray (if legal) can provide additional peace of mind.

Avoid Secluded Areas: Stick to well-travelled sections of the path, especially during times when fewer people are around.

Stay Visible: Walk in areas where you are visible to others. Avoid taking shortcuts through isolated or dense areas.

Stay Alert: Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid distractions like listening to music with both earbuds in.

Know How to React: If you feel threatened, do not be afraid to make a scene. Shout, use your personal alarm, and run towards other people or populated areas.


Interacting with Others on the Path

Friendly but Cautious: It's common to greet fellow hikers, but maintain a polite distance and avoid sharing too many personal details about your plans or whereabouts.

Group Up When Possible: If you encounter a group heading in the same direction, consider joining them for a stretch. There is safety in numbers.

Keep a Distance: Maintain a safe distance when interacting with strangers. If someone invades your personal space, assert your boundaries confidently.


Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Contacts: Have local emergency contacts saved on your phone and ensure your phone is fully charged. Carry a backup power bank.

Recognise Landmarks: Take note of distinctive landmarks as you walk. These can help you describe your location if you need assistance.

Local Wildlife: Be aware of the local wildlife. Most animals are harmless, but knowing how to react if you encounter livestock or wildlife is important.

GPS and Tracking Apps: Use GPS and tracking apps that allow your location to be shared with trusted contacts in real-time. You can share your live location with someone using WhatsApp.


Respect the Environment

Leave No Trace: Carry out all litter, respect wildlife, and stick to marked paths to preserve the natural beauty of the coastline.

Responsible Camping: If you plan to camp, use designated campsites or practice wild camping responsibly, ensuring you leave no trace.


Don't let it stop you

While there are potential threats, it should not deter you from experiencing the joys and benefits of solo hiking. With proper preparation and a vigilant mindset, you can significantly mitigate risks and enjoy a safe and empowering journey.

Solo hiking allows for a profound connection with nature, personal growth, and the freedom to explore at your own pace. By staying informed, maintaining situational awareness, and taking sensible precautions, you can confidently navigate the path.


Walking alone can be a deeply rewarding experience. It shouldn't be a place to feel scared when alone and it shouldn't stop you from solo hiking. However, it is always worth keeping your wits about you to ensure you can enjoy your solo hike whilst staying safe.

By taking sensible precautions, staying aware of potential dangers, and trusting your instincts, you can enjoy the stunning landscapes and rejuvenating solitude of this iconic trail safely.


Safe travels and happy hiking!


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Guest
Jun 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very usefull .thanks

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Guest
Jun 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Some great advice.

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Guest
Jun 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you- useful tips!

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Guest
Jun 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent advice. As someone who has done a fair amount of solo hiking/walking these are great rules to follow!

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Guest
Jun 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good advice there. I may have missed it in the text, but one of my golden rules is to turn back if it gets too much. The path will be there another day.

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