Start: Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire
End: St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
Distance: 699 miles (1,125km)
Time: 8-10 weeks
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Historic sites such as Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, Avebury Stone Circle, Cadbury Camp, and Glastonbury Abbey form an ancient thread to this long-distance walk. These sites are not all necessarily Celtic in origin, but the Celtic Way is a path through areas where the Celtic influence was strong, long after the rest of the United Kingdom became Roman, Saxon, and Norman.
The path starts on a rocky headland at the extreme southwestern corner of Wales. The cliffs of Strumble Head overlook a small rocky island called Michael’s Isle. From Pembrokeshire, the route twists around the coast of south Wales and back through southwest England to Cornwall. The path ends on the sands of Marazion, looking out to the castle on another “Michael’s island”-St. Michael’s Mount.
These southwestern areas are dotted with sites connected with mysticism and prehistory. The Celtic Way passes by more than 100 ancient monuments, tombs, and hill forts. Some are linked to druids, legends, and early Christian stories. Highlights include the iron Age and Roman remains at Caerleon in south Wales, Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, and Silbury Hill in Wiltshire. Guide books on the route also point out dozens of stone circles, holy wells, burial chambers, waterfalls, and hermits’ cells. The landscapes that walkers see today are memorable, too. The scenery of the coastal sections is particularly dramatic, but other memorable stretches include crossing the wilds of Dartmoor, Bod min Moor, and the Brecon Beacons. Alternative routes across Exmoor and through Dorset are offered, giving a choice of visiting sites such as the hill fort at Maiden Castle and even a cross-channel journey to St. Michael’s Mount in Brittany, France.