Are you an aspiring long-distance walker? If you are, you probably know a thing or two about Europe’s most popular long-distance trekking routes. One of these is the Coast to Coast Walk – a truly epic journey that takes hikers across England and goes through three absolutely stunning national parks (North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, and Lake District).
If you’ve been inspired to walk the Coast to Coast route yourself, you’re probably wondering what’s the best time of year to do it. You’re in the right place – in this article, we’ll provide an answer to that and a couple of other questions often posed by folks interested in walking this world-famous (although still unofficial) long-distance walking path.
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Why Should I Walk the Coast to Coast Route in the First Place?
When was the last time you had a chance to walk across an entire country? That’s undoubtedly one of the best things about this trail. What makes it even better is that crossing England from its western to eastern coast by this trail won’t require you to spend months on the road – it’s something that can be done in two weeks. If this is not for you, I have a great list of alternatives to the Coast to Coast.
While it’s not an official route, the Coast to Coast walk definitely offers a profoundly rewarding experience to all those in the love with the outdoors. Watching the landscape changing from rolling pastures to dramatic mountains and bleak moors is something you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
However, the stunning scenery is not the only great thing about this trail, I have also listed what to know before starting out. Along the way, you will meet many like-minded people and encounter wonderful communities. One great example of this is the honesty boxes, which you’ll find along the route between Richmond and Ingleby Cross. Local farmers leave all sorts of snacks in these, which trekkers can then take and leave small donations in return (if they want to, of course).
The Best Time to Walk the Coast to Coast Route
There are some outdoor enthusiasts who attempt to traverse this route during England’s wet, cold, and dark winter months. And while this is entirely possible (and done by hundreds of people on an annual basis), a vast majority of people opt for walking the Coast to Coast route in the summer season.
The reasons behind this are fairly simple – the sights aren’t as bleak as they are during the cold winter months, the temperature is far more pleasant, there’s a lot more flora and fauna to see, and the logistics are far easier to handle, which is particularly true for those intending to wild camp along the route.
Related: What to pack for the Coast to Coast
However, an important thing to mention here is that walking the Coast to Coast route means going through a variety of landscapes and climates, which translates to the inevitability of encountering a vast range of weather conditions during every season of the year. After all, British weather is well – known for its unpredictability.
Speaking generally, this is what trekkers can expect if they decide to walk the Coast to Coast route during the hiking season months (April to October):
- May and June
- July and August
What makes this month an attractive time to walk the Coast to Coast route is the moderate rainfall and cooler temperatures. These also contribute to the fact that there aren’t as many people walking this trail during April – it’s a perfect month for those who want to avoid crowds but still don’t want to walk the trail during cold winter months.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that days in April aren’t really that long. In other words, you’ll have fewer daylight hours on the route than those who opt to walk the Coast to Coast route in summer.
When compared to the weather in April, the weather in May and June tends to be more settled and a bit milder. In addition, the days are significantly longer, but there are still not too many people on the route. That is precisely what makes the months of May and June excellent for walking this trail.
Obviously, these are by far the busiest months on the C2C trail. The combination of warm weather and school holidays compels thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from both the UK and other countries to walk this route. During the summer there are more places to eat on the C2C.
A vital thing to keep in mind here is that these months tend to be wetter than the Spring months listed above – make sure to take a good lightweight rain jacket and the rain cover for your backpack. Still, you can be absolutely sure that you’ll get some brilliant sunny days on this trail if you hit it during July or August.
The month of September is similar to the month of May in many things. There is relatively less rainfall, the temperatures are milder, and there aren’t that many people walking the Coast to Coast trail. For that matter, walking this path in September is never a bad decision.
The final month of the hiking season is October. Would it be wise to walk the Coast to Coast route during this month? While it’s true that there are many incredibly crisp and clear autumn days in October, it is also true that the days begin to get wetter, colder, as well as shorter.
Therefore, those who decide to walk the C2C in October need to expect harsher conditions and prepare for them accordingly.
So, while it’s absolutely true that magical moments occur year-round on this route, traversing it during specific months provides trekkers with a better experience – it’s as simple as that. In our opinion, the best time to walk the C2C is during Spring (April, May, and June), mostly due to milder temperatures and sparser crowds.
The Weather on the Coast to Coast Route
As we’ve already mentioned, walking this route means encountering a variety of landscapes and climates – after all, this is a 192-mile long path that takes hikers from the Irish Sea to the North Sea and crosses three different national parks.
No matter which month of the hiking season you select for walking the Coast to Coast route, you will almost certainly have to deal with rain at some point (although, as we said, rain is much more likely to occur during July and August). So, in order to have the best trekking experience possible, it is very important that you pack some good waterproofs. Read how to choose waterproofs.
The relatively low elevation profiles on this route should not trick you – in the hills and mountains, the conditions change rapidly. For those who are not adequately prepared, this can be quite dangerous. This is particularly true in the Lake District section of the route, where you’ll be traversing exposed ridgelines and peaks. Obviously, you should not attempt to walk the Coast to Coast route if there are thunderstorms, torrential rains, and very high winds predicted.
In summary, those who decide to embark on this epic journey across England should do so in the Spring.
During the months of April, May, and to a degree June, temperatures aren’t as unbearable and the trail isn’t as crowded as it is during the summer months. This combination of factors provides a much more pleasant (and more authentic) Coast to Coast experience.
You could also walk the trail in September or October, but that means missing out on the remarkable growth of fresh life that comes with the Spring.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.