The Fowey Estuary, Cornwall
Whether you enjoy leisurely woodland walks or cliff top paths, the walks around the Fowey Estuary cater for all levels and abilities.
Of the many walks available in the area, the most popular along the estuary is known as the Hall Walk and offers stunning views of the estuary, harbour and out to sea. This is a four mile circular walk which follows the banks of the river and also takes in the ferries via Bodinnick, Pont Creek and Poluran or back again, depending on your route. There is also a longer walk via the beautiful St Wyllow Church from Pont and onto Pencarrow Head where walkers can join up with the coastal path for a longer walk to Poluran.
Between Easter and September, there are guided walks available with experienced guides providing a historical narrative on this beautiful area. For further information contact the Fowey Tourist Information Centre.
Just eight miles from Fowey is the beautiful 17th Century Farmhouse, one of three self-catering Aga properties on a 100 acre dairy farm. These Grade II listed properties cater for groups from 2 to 6 and may be combined for larger groups. For further information visit:
The Taw Estuary, near Barnstaple, North Devon
This easy but beautiful walk can be as long or as short as you like and takes in part of the South West Coast Path, providing interest all year round, whatever the season. In this area, the South West Coast Path follows the disused track of the London and South Western Railway Branch Line that ran between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. The branch opened as a single-track line in 1874, but was so popular that it needed to be upgraded to double-track in 1889. Sadly, the line closed in 1970 when, like so many other areas, rail travel fell out of favour as more and more people owned their own cars. There’s plenty for twitchers to see with migrant waders and other waterbirds populating the salt marshes and even a rare bird of prey, the Hobby, hunting the swifts and swallows as they gather for their migration south.
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There is a wide choice of AGA Cottages in and around the Barnstaple area, some sleep large numbers and make them ideal locations for larger family gatherings.
White Haven Retreat is a wing of a private home, which sleeps four and is in the quiet hamlet of Eastacombe, just outside Barnstaple. The AGA makes White Haven Retreat a cosy, comfortable base at any time of year, perfect for exploring the Taw Estuary and surrounds.
The Dee Estuary, North Wales
Beautiful North Wales has so much to see and do and is a real haven for walkers. The Wales Coastal Path was voted number one in the world in the Lonely Planet’s best in travel top ten regions in 2012 and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a particularly beautiful walk along the coastline between Flint Castle and Basingwerk Abbey, two treasured national historical monuments.
Starting at Flint Castle, or the ruins of this 13th century castle, part of a chain built by Edward I to encircle Wales, the walk starts with beautiful views of the estuary and out towards the Wirral. Following the coastline, the walk takes in the natural habitats of many species of birds and finally meanders half a mile inland to the 12th century Basingwerk Abbey. The substantial remains of this once Cistercian Abbey form a stunning backdrop although be warned, you may not be here in this peaceful location on your own. Many local people report strange phenomenon and goings on around the Abbey including a colourful ghost seen hovering near where the second floor once would have been and the noise and smoky smell of a train in the woods in Holywell. Whatever you believe, there’s no denying the beauty of the area.
Many of our Welsh Aga cottages are within driving distance of stunning locations for walks. Kingslow Cottage is a mid terrace period property sleeping six in the centre of the village of Newborough. Whether you want to explore to the west and take in Anglesey and Conwy or travel slightly further afield to Flintshire in the east, this cosy, welcoming cottage is the perfect base.
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The Tay Estuary, Scotland
The Fife Coastal Path runs from the Forth Estuary in the south to the Tay Estuary in the north and stretches some 117 miles. Once again there is something for everyone on this path from the gentle stroll to the vertiginous (almost!) ascent. Depending on your taste, one stretch starting at the old pier in Newport-on-Tay, starts gently enough passing through Wormit, largely on tarmacadam but then becomes a grassy path and ascends to the coastal path. Whether you walk the three steep miles up the coastal path, stop and enjoy the views across to Dundee and down the estuary taking in the bridges or whether you carry on to Newburgh, you’re sure to enjoy all the Scottish coastline has to offer.
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Perched right on the banks of the River Tay in Newport with unimpeded views of the water is the delightful Tay House. For those so inclined, the house also has its own slipway and mooring but non-boaty types will feel just at home in this comfortable and cosy house. With the cosmopolitan cities of Dundee and St Andrews a car journey away there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.
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The Aln Estuary, Northumbria
The picture postcard perfect village of Alnmouth, with its red roofed cottages is the perfect starting point for a coastal walk that takes in the Aln estuary and ends up at the medieval Warkworth Castle. The track crosses Buston Links, covered in wild flowers in spring time and follows a beautifully wild stretch of beach where Artic Terns dive for fish, best visited when the tide is out and the golden sands stretch for miles.
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In nearby Eglingham, just outside Alnwick, is Sunflower Cottage, a wonderful old stone built cottage with views over open countryside. Sleeping six, this inviting Aga cottage is also within easy driving distance of Alnwick and Dunstanburgh Castles as well as the Farne Islands and Lindisfarne.
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Article written by Rebecca Russell
Image: Copyright: Ian Wool / 123RF Stock Photo