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

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 coastline’s hidden treasures.

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.

Kilve is another of the coastal communities featured in a new autumn festival.
Kilve is another of the coastal communities featured in a new autumn festival. (Somerset Coast Festival)

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 in Porlock Weir in the heart of Exmoor.

The eight-day challenge costs £80 per person and will explore the whole coast with the following itinerary, starting at 9 am 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, 12.30 pm)

  • Dunster: castle to coast (September 24, 10 am)

  • The Watchet poemscape (circular walk – September 26, 2.30 pm)

  • Minehead higher town storywalk (September 28, 1 pm)

  • Brean Down: wartime defences and rare flowers (September 29, 10 am)

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.

A new autumn festival is encouraging people to visit communities such as Watchet.
A new autumn festival is encouraging people to visit coastal communities such as Watchet. (Somerset Coast Festival)

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.

Somerset executive Cllr Ros Wyke 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