The Coast to Coast part 1 walk is a spectacular 83 mile route across Cumbria. The route is the Western half of Alfred Wainwright's famous coast to coast route. You walk from west to east through stunning scenery, crossing the Lake District National Park.
You start your self-guided coast to coast part 1 walking holiday at St Bees and follow the coastline before heading east and entering the Lake District National Park, home to spectacular lake and mountain scenery. Between the Lake District and Kirkby Stephen the Coast to Coast route levels to cross undulating farmland.
The terrain on this trail is a diversity of rocky mountain paths, limestone plateau’s, country lanes, rolling hillsides and farmland. If you are contemplating the Coast to Coast walk and would like to gain a better idea of its landscapes and terrain please click on Coast to Coast photo diary.
Each night on the trail you stay in a different village along the route in selected walker friendly accommodation, with breakfast provided. Your luggage is transferred between accommodation each day. The minibus service will also transfer you with your luggage if you are ill or injured and unable to walk.
Book with Northwestwalks and you can be confident of a personal, professional and well organised service. We have over twenty years experience operating holidays on Wainwright's Coast to Coast Path. We have an excellent knowledge of the route having walked it many times.
You can be assured we select quality walker friendly accommodation and provide a reliable daily luggage transfer service, plus a holiday pack which includes route information, accommodation details, route map, guidebook and the reassurance we can always be contacted should you need assistance.
This walking holiday is available from April to October. You can book your holiday to start on any date of your choice.
Start of route
St Bees, Cumbria
End of route
Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
Direction of walk
West to East
Grade of walking
The Coast to Coast part 1 is a wonderful but challenging route. You will need to be physically fit (stamina for back to back long daily walks/hikes and cardiovascular for steep ascents) and be equipped to meet your challenge.
The route is mainly through the Lake District Mountains with some steep ascents and descents. There are also sections of undulating countryside. The terrain on this trail is a diversity of rocky mountain paths,limestone plateau’s, country lanes, rolling hillsides and farmland.
Waymarking and Navigation
Despite its popularity the route is not a National Trail and therefore waymarking is limited. We recommend you are able to navigate with a map and compass. A GPS is also a good backup device and the guidebook we provide includes downloadable GPS waypoints for the route.
Carefully selected walker friendly accommodation.
Breakfast each day.
Luggage transfer between overnight accommodation.
Backup accommodation to accommodation transfer for ill or injured walkers.
Route information and itinerary.
Detailed instructions to find your accommodation.
Guidebook with downloadable GPS waypoints and a route map.
Not included in the price of your holiday
Evening meals, packed lunches, drinks and snacks, travel insurance, travel to St Bees and from Kirkby Stephen, souvenirs, laundry services, etc.
We know how incredibly important your accommodation is each night of your coast to coast holiday. That’s why the accommodation provided is in carefully selected walker friendly B&B’s, Guest Houses, small Hotels and Inns. The owners have excellent local knowledge, understand the needs of walkers and are welcoming and want you to enjoy your stay. As a family business we have personally built an excellent reputation and relationship with the owners and managers. We aim to book rooms with ensuite bathrooms every night. In a few villages ensuite accommodation is limited and we may have to book a room with private facilities, i.e. a private bathroom across the hall, for one night of your holiday.
We provide detailed instructions to find you accommodation which is booked on or close to the Coast to Coast Path.
Breakfast is included.
Packed lunches can be readily purchased from your overnight accommodation or local shop.
Evening meals can be purchased in local village pubs or overnight accommodation when a pub is not available.
For the duration of the holiday your luggage is transferred from accommodation to accommodation by a luggage transfer agent. Luggage allowance is 1 bag/person weighing not more than 20kg (44lbs).
We hope that everyone who books with us on the Coast to Coast route will complete their challenge, however illness and injury sometimes occur. For this reason you are supported by a daily transport service, which can drive you from accommodation to accommodation if you are ill or injured.
Guidebooks and Maps
A guidebook and route map are included.
We can be contacted 24 hours a day if required.
The weather in Northern England is varied but we do get long dry warm spells. You should be prepared for all possibilities as weather, particularly in the mountains, can change quickly. Weather statistics are available from the Met Office at www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate
Good outdoor clothing and waterproofs are essential, please see equipmement list for further details.
Comfortable walking boots which provide good grip on multiple terrain and ankle support are recommended.
Please see equipmement list for further details
There is a laundrette in Kirkby Stephen. Some accommodation owners also provide a laundry service for a small fee.
The Coast to Coast Part 1 (west) is an 83 mile route across Cumbria. The route is the western half of Alfred Wainwright's famous coast to coast route.
The following is intended to provide further information about the route. Please note that all distances and heights in this document are approximate and along with all the other information are provided as an aid to describe the route.
The seaside village of St Bees on the Cumbria (west) coast is the official starting point for Wainwrights world famous Coast to Coast walk..
St Bees to Cleator (village height above sea level 60M). Distance 9 miles
A plaque on the seafront marks the start of Wainwrights coast to coast walk. Tradition says to dip your toe in the sea and then collect a small pebble to carry with you to the east coast. The route heads north across the coastal path with views of Scotland and the Isle of Man. Leave the coastal path and head east towards the Lake District Mountains. The route passes through the villages of Sandwith and Moor Row to Cleator.
Cleator to Ennerdale Bridge (100M). Distance 5 miles
From Cleator the route starts to climb and a steep walk takes you to Dent (352M). Admire the views before continuing across the hilltop. Descend steeply down a forest track, follow Nannycatch Beck and then the roadside paths to Ennerdale Bridge.
Ennerdale Bridge (100M) to Rosthwaite (100M). Distance 14 miles
Follow the country lanes to Ennerdale Water then the rocky path along the banks of the Lake. At the far end of the Lake make for the forest track that climbs gradually along Ennerdale valley to the remote Black Sail Hut YHA (290M). The adventurous and experienced fell walkers can leave the track and climb to follow the alternative route over High Stile (807M), rejoining the main route near the top of Loft Beck. From the YHA continue to the bottom of Loft Beck and a steep ascent to the high point of the day at 600M. The views back to the sea are spectacular. Follow the rocky path across the fell and descend to Honister (330M). Continue descending into the beautiful Borrowdale valley to the village of Seatoller (120M) then follow the footpaths to Rosthwaite.
Rosthwaite (100M) to Grasmere (75M). Distance 10 miles
Follow the track alongside Stonethwaite Beck then the rocky path climbing steadily alongside Greenup Gill. Climb the steps and rocks (a bit tricky but not technical) to the left side of Lining Crag (500M) and admire the views to the north and east. Continue to Greenup Edge, today’s high point at 620M, and then descend the rocky path to the head of Far Easedale. You then have the option to follow the ridge walk across Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag before descending steeply into Grasmere or take the less arduous route down Far Easedale.
Grasmere (75M) to Patterdale/Glenridding (150M). Distance 8 miles
Follow the road to Mill Bridge then take the rocky path which climbs steadily alongside Tongue Gill to Grisedale Tarn (550M). The adventurous and experienced fell walkers can leave the route and climb higher to follow one of the alternative routes, either right over St Sunday Crag (841M), or left onto Helvellyn (950M) and then across the infamous Striding Edge. From Grisedale Tarn follow the route down hill alongside Grisedale Beck into Patterdale.
Patterdale (150M) to Shap (250M). Distance 16 miles
From Patterdale a sharp steep walk brings you to Boredale Hause (400M), the rocky path now climbs with less gradient past Angle Tarn and close to Satura Crag (600M), it descends to 500M and then climbs sharply again to round The Knott (739M). The route then turns sharp left onto High Street, an old Roman Road, and then right onto Kidsty Pike (780M) the highest point on route. From here look back across the Lake District and then turn to view the Eden Valley and the Pennine Mountains. Descend gradually at first then steeply down to Haweswater (250M), and follow the rocky path alongside the banks of the reservoir to Burnbanks. The Lake District Mountains are left behind and the gradients ease to cross the rolling farmland in Eden Valley. Follow the paths across undulating farmland, passing the ruins of Shap Abbey, to the village of Shap.
Shap (250M) to Orton (230M). Distance 8 miles
Follow the footpaths across the limestone plateau passing the secluded hamlet of Oddendale and granite boulders deposited by ice age glaciers. Orton is a mile to the south of the route so if you are walking to Kirkby Stephen you can bypass the village.
Orton (230M) to Kirkby Stephen (180M). Distance 12 miles
Continue over rolling farmland and across the moors passing Sunbiggin, the hidden remains of several ancient settlements, and Smardale Bridge to the market town Kirkby Stephen.
Kirkby Stephen is a small market town in the Eden Valley with several pubs, cafes and shops.
Train timetables can be viewed and tickets purchased online at www.thetrainline.com
Reduced price ‘Advanced tickets’ can be purchased from approx 12 weeks prior to departure.
To St Bees
The train station in St Bees is a short walk from your accommodation.
Approximate journey times – From Manchester Airport 4 hours. From London 5 hours.
From Kirkby Stephen
The train station in Kirkby Stephen is a short taxi journey (1.5 miles) from your accommodation.
Approximate journey times - Manchester Airport 3.5 hours. London 4.5 hours
If parking and transfers are required please request at the time of booking your holiday.
Parking in Kirkby Stephen
Secure parking in Kirkby Stephen - price £6.00 per day.
Transfer from Kirkby Stephen to St Bees - price £30.00 per person (depart 08:30 – arrive 10:15).
The most convenient major International airport with rail links is Manchester Airport.
Please remember to
1. Keep the weight of your day pack and walking/hiking equipment to a comfortable weight for you to carry
2. Keep your suitcase/luggage under the maximum transfer weight (Maximum: 20kg (44lbs)).
The following checklist is an aid to help you with your packing
Walking/Hiking boots (worn in before your holiday)
Technical walking socks e.g. liner and thick outer socks
Trekking trousers (not jeans/denim)
Waterproof over trousers
Baselayer T-shirts and/or casual shirts
Fleece or warm jumper
Spare warm layer (to carry in your rucksack)
Rucksack (25 to 35 litres) and waterproof cover
Rucksack liner e.g. large plastic bag
Water bottles 1 litre (x2)
Basic First Aid Kit and personal medication
Torch / flashlight
Thermos flask for hot drinks
Antibacterial hand wash/wipes
Camera, film, batteries
Hello Corinna & Dean. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk thanks and will get back to you about booking part 2 for August or September. Everything went without a hitch, accommodation all good, varied and interesting.
Regards, Steve and Pauline, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2021
Dear Dean and Corinna, We are now home just over a week since our wonderful holiday walking the first part of the Wainwright route from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen. Both Andy and I want to thank you for the amazing service you provide in arranging the trip. Everything went smoothly, our baggage arrived ahead of us every day and the B&Bs selected were welcoming, hospitable and comfortable. It made for a very enjoyable and stress free week. We would like to put a special word in for...That's not to say the other B&BS weren't also excellent. Carol at, Kirkby Stephen gave us a very warm and friendly welcome at our last stop of the holiday...and we would like to make her our first stop on part 2 of our walk when we head from Kirkby Stephen to RHB this time next year. Of course, we will be booking again with Northwestwalks. Thank you again, very much.
Kind regards, Anne and Andy, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2019
Hallo Dean and Corinna. Silvia and I had such a wonderful hiking vacation even though we started our hike with storm "Ali" with its rain and high winds. Luckily it only lasted for the first few days.......Silvia and I had a fabulous time on our hiking trip. We met so many wonderful people, great fellow hikers and experienced excellent English hospitality. We are looking forward in doing the second part of the Coast to Coast real soon. And yes, we are going to book with you again.
Thanks for a well organized tour, Franziska and Silvia, Canada, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2018
Hi Dean and Corinna,
Just a quick note to say thanks for your help with organising our trip. Great memories…….The accommodation was all great and the luggage transfer worked well. So thanks again, I hope we return to complete the route. I’d be more than happy to book with again if we do.
Thanks again, Keith, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2018
Dear Dean, I am currently in Kirkby Stephen, having enjoyed the first half of the C2C. The standard of accommodation was as expected: all good, or excellent, apart from one which was adequate (you had explained that it was a bit of a last resort so it wasn't a problem and we had a warm welcome)…Thank you very much for arranging this first trip - it was excellent.
Regards, Vicki, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2017
Hi Dean and Corinna, Just to say thank you for organising our holiday over the first half of the coast to coast. All the arrangements were without any problems, and our only disappointment was the two days of bad weather, which meant we didn't walk, but I can't blame you for that!
Thanks once again, Derek and Rosemary, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2017
Dear Corinna, Many thanks for making such excellent arrangements for the first half of our Coast to Coast walk. It was a great success. We look forward to booking the second half with you next year.
Kind regards, Mark, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2015
Hi Dean, Just a quick line to say thanks for a great holiday. The walking was great and all the arrangements worked well. The accommodation choices were all ideal ….being in good locations for the walk and all really comfortable and friendly. ..So thanks again for a really enjoyable holiday.
Kind regards, Dave, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2015
I have been meaning to email you ever since we got back from our walk to say how much we enjoyed it and how impressed we were with the organisation, accommodation and baggage transfer service…We have already decided we must do the second half of the walk another time, so you will doubtless be hearing from me again.Thanks again for a very successful holiday.
Jean, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2011
We got back from the first half of the C2C on Friday night and wanted to write and say how much we enjoyed the walk. It was great to have everything booked up in advance and our cases waiting for us when we arrived at each B and B… we were really pleased that you had booked us into such comfortable accommodation along the route.
We are already planning the second half and will be contacting you shortly.
Meanwhile, thank you so much for organising everything so well!
Sara-Jane, UK, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2011
My husband and I have just recently completed the first half of the Coast to Coast Walk with North West Walks and wanted to say thank you so much for arranging a fabulous trip for us.
Philippa, Australia, Coast to Coast Part 1 Self-Guided, 2010