SOMERSET residents can explore the entirety of their county’s coast in just eight days as part of a new festival.

The first Somerset and Exmoor Coastal Festival will be staged between September 23 and October 1, with numerous events planned to allow residents and visitors to explore the hidden treasures on Somerset’s coastline.

The event, organised by the England Coast Path team at Somerset Council, is intended to boost tourist numbers and support local businesses as the summer season comes to an end.

Those feeling fit enough can sign up for an eight-day walk along the entire coast, beginning at Brean Down Fort (north of Burnham-on-Sea) and ending at Porlock Weir in the heart of the Exmoor national park.

The eight-day challenge – which costs £80 per person – will explore the whole coast with the following itinerary, starting at 9am each day:

  • Day 1 – Brean to Burnham-on-Sea (moderate difficulty)
  • Day 2 – Burnham-on-Sea to Bridgwater (moderate)
  • Day 3 – Bridgwater to Steart Marshes (moderate)
  • Day 4 – Steart Marshes to Burton (moderate)
  • Day 5 – Burton to Watchet (moderate)
  • Day 6 – Watchet to Minehead (moderate)
  • Day 7 – Minehead to Porlock (challenging)
  • Day 8 – County Gate to Porlock (challenging)

Days one to six will be staged along the England Coast Path (including inland diversions around Hinkley Point C and the Watchet to Blue Anchor stretch), while days seven and eight will follow the South West Coast Path.

Shorter guided walks will also be staged to shed light on the history of different parts of the coast – including:

  • Berrow Dunes and the wreck of the SS Nornen (September 23, 12:30pm)
  • Dunster: castle to coast (September 24, 10am)
  • The Watchet poemscape (circular walk – September 26, 2:30pm)
  • Minehead higher town storywalk (September 28, 1pm)
  • Brean Down: wartime defences and rare flowers (September 29, 10am)

Restaurants, galleries and bed-and-breakfast providers along the route will be supporting the festival, which could become a permanent fixture on the county’s calendar.

The initial festival has been commissioned by the council and funded by the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP), which focuses on coastal tourism in Somerset to offset the impact of the new nuclear power station.

Councillor Ros Wyke, portfolio holder for prosperity, assets and development, said: “The Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival is an exciting opportunity to put our beautiful coastline centre stage and showcase the very best of what our area has to offer.

“We hope that by working with local tourism and hospitality businesses, we can create a fantastic range of events and activities that will encourage visitors to come and explore all that Somerset has to offer.

“This is just the beginning of our plans to support coastal tourism in the region, and we look forward to seeing how the festival and the wider programme will help to drive economic growth and development for years to come.”

For more information about the festival, including the full events programme, visit