Wild Guide Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucester


Adventures in Devon, Cornwall Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire (2nd edition, publishes 1st June 2024)

by Tania Pascoe and Daniel Start

Or buy PDF ebook with OS map hyperlinks

Also available as ebook and kindle here

International customers will find it easier to buy on Amazon

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Discover secret coves, sea caves and mermaid pools; swim through river meadows at dawn and find lost ruins clad in ivy and reclaimed by nature. Climb an ancient tree or lookout tower and find the best tors for scrambling. Visit local makers and food producers then cook up a feast on a wild beach or hillfort as the sun goes down.

From Cornwall to the Cotswolds, Dorset to Devon, and everywhere in between, this travel compendium reveals the South West’s least known and most adventurous places. Featuring dazzling photography, detailed maps and engaging travel writing, this is the perfect guide for adventurers, family explorers and armchair travellers alike.




About the Wild Guide

From the award-winning Wild Guide series, this second edition includes 250 new places and two new counties. Taking you to places no other guidebooks reach, featuring 370 wild swims and hidden beaches; 410 lost ruins, caves, crags, forests and meadows plus 450 superb places to eat or sleep.

  • Sea caves and coasteering
  • Waterfalls and river swimming
  • Secret coves and rock-cut pools
  • Canoeing and paddle boarding
  • Easy scrambles, peaks and canyons



  • Lost ruins, castles and forts
  • Ancient trees, forests and meadows
  • Smugglers’ caves, caverns, tunnels
  • Sacred sites, stones and holy wells
  • Regenerative farms, organic producers and kitchen garden cafés
  • Wild camping, star-gazing and campfire-friendly campsites
  • Bothies, bunkhouses and cabins






Tania Pascoe is a naturalist, food critic and photographer from Somerset and Cornwall. She is the author of Wild Garden Weekends, as well as many Wild Guides.
Daniel Start is a travel writer and photographer. He is the author of Wild Swimming and Hidden Beaches, as well as several Wild Guides. He was brought up on the River Wye.



Penwith & Isles of Scilly

Lizard & Helford

St Agnes & Newquay

Roseland & Veryan

Fowey & St Austell

Padstow & Bedruthan

Tamar & Looe

Bodmin Moor

Tintagel & Bude


Hartland & Torridge

North Devon & Lundy

Northwest Dartmoor

Northeast Dartmoor

Southwest Dartmoor

Southeast Dartmoor

South Devon Coast

East Devon



West Dorset

Central Dorset

Dorset Purbeck

East Dorset


Central Exmoor

Quantock & Blackdown

Somerset Levels

Mendip Hills & Coast

Somerset Avon

East Somerset

Wiltshire & Gloucestershire

South Wiltshire

North Wiltshire

South Cotswolds

Forest of Dean & Wye






This first Wild Guide was published in 2013 when Wild Things Publishing was conceived, at the confluence of two rivers in our home county of Somerset. There are now over a dozen Wild Guides, covering Britain and Europe, and it is with great pride that we present the fully revised, updated and expanded South West edition, with over 400 new locations and coverage of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire too.

Discover lost ruins overgrown by ancient forests; clamber down to a secret cove and explore sea caves; picnic in a meadow of orchids and rare butterflies; watch the sun set from an Iron Age hill fort; search for glow worms in the dusk then wait for the sky to turn deep indigo and fill with stars.
The Wild Guide is a celebration of the wild places that lie hidden, just off the beaten path. It’s your guide to a lifetime of joyful exploration and simple pleasures. And these special places are on your very doorstep, if you know where to look.

Great adventures
In our modern digital world, much is made of our new-found freedoms – to work remotely and be contactable anywhere. Yet we remain tethered to our technology and busier than ever. Likewise our children, deprived of beneficial wild experiences, suffer so-called nature-deficit disorder.
Our remedy is a big dose of simple adventures of the most natural kind – exploring the wilder places that lie on the edge of everyday life and throwing yourself into new experiences. There are rivers for swimming or canoeing, moors and meadows to camp in, ancient pathways for night-time walks, woods and ruins to explore and subterranean worlds to discover. Straying out of your comfort zone is not without risk, but new adventures can bring an enormous sense of freedom and well-being.

Hidden places
Think of the South West in summer, and queues of traffic on the A30 and tiny lanes jammed with caravans may spring to mind. Yet, once you know where to look you’ll find a region of extraordinary secluded beauty, its remote coastline indented with tiny coves, its vast moorlands fringed by ancient woodland, crossed by babbling streams and watched over by sacred stones.



Our formula for getting away from the crowds is based around the magic of some key locations:

Wild coast: The intertidal zone is perhaps the greatest wild area in the UK today, a no-man’s land continuously covered and then revealed by the great ocean. Secret coves and caves await the adventurous, while precipitous cliffs and rugged smugglers’ trails offer a challenge that rewards and invigorates in equal measure.
Rivers and lakes: The beautiful, natural waterways that have shaped our verdant landscape, especially where their courses are not followed by roads, offer wonderful wild corridors that are ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing and embracing a slower pace of life.
Sunset hill forts: To watch the sun go down is to squeeze the very last juice from the day. It’s a unique opportunity to feel the subtle changes around you as birds roost, dusk settles, and nocturnal creatures begin to stir. Hill tops provide an ideal vantage point and many are also rich in Iron Age history.
Ancient woods: These rich fragments of what were once great forests are not only places to wander in peace, but also allow admittance into a stimulating world of den building, camping out, tree climbing and foraging for wild food.
Lost ruins: There are so many relics of Britain’s rich history to inspire us, from sacred stone circles to cliff-top engine houses, many overgrown and abandoned but with fascinating stories to tell. Ruins offer adventure and romance – the vital ingredients of every truly picturesque location.
Meadows and wildlife: To be surrounded by wild, unspoilt beauty, from carpets of divinely scented bluebells from April to the uplifting sight of a falcon swooping overhead, is to be reminded of the power of nature. It can help to reconnect us and reawaken our sense of wonder.

The good life, from the land
We always give directions for drivers but for a truly wholesome feel, travel to the locations in this guide by bus or train, by canoe, cycle, foot or hoof. Then, with the money you have saved on entrance fees, eat hearty local food of known provenance, created with care. Some light foraging is satisfying too, especially of the most abundant treats, including wild garlic, mussels and maybe a line-caught mackerel, all cooked up on a little driftwood fire. After some stargazing, camp on a beach or by a waterfall or stream.

We chose to write our first Wild Guide about the South West because we wanted to celebrate simple adventures close to home. The South West is a place we know, love and live in, so the idea of an intimate local guide, filled with secret destinations and special places, appealed. Along the way, we have met so many people living a simpler, richer life, such as artisan producers making delicious traditional foods and smallholders who tend to their pigs and chickens alongside their guests.

The result is a compendium packed full of memories of wild camps, night walks, foraging missions, sunset surfing, canoe trips at dawn and countless dips in waterfalls, rivers and coves. And all without flying, or queuing, or paying very much at all. We hope the book inspires many wild and wonderful escapades – do write in and tell us how you get on and please share any suggestions or corrections.

We wish you many happy adventures.

Tania and Daniel


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