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It’s official: South West Coast Path world’s happiest trail

Us South West Coast Path aficionados know the feeling of being on the path, hiking up to the top of the cliffs, and the feeling of leaving our worries down in the real world. 

And, it turns out it’s not just us that think so. In fact, recent research by Inghams has shown the South West Coast Path to be the happiest trail in the WORLD. 

How did they do so? 

Evening light on Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall England UK

Inghams used social media posts, including images on Instagram and Facebook, to conduct this research. 

They analysed a range of photos taken on popular walking trails, including the Canadian Rockies and the Alps. 

Using a photo recognition software, they analysed the smiles of people in said social media posts, and found the biggest grins from the South West Coast Path! 

Inghams said “A grin is sure to come as you explore this trail and admire some of Britain’s most delightful beaches and clifftop views, hear the seabirds calling, smell the salty air and enjoy an ice-cream in a picturesque seaside village. “

Once they’d used the photo recognition software, they gave each hike a score. The South West Coast Path’s was 99.30, which is just about the Thames Path, which came in second place at 99.29.

The runners up

Happy hiker on the South West Coast Path

Inghams didn’t just nominate the winner – in fact, they mentioned 20 that made hikers particularly happy.

The full list in order is:

  • South West Coast Path (England)
  • Thames Path (England)
  • Blue Mountains (Australia)
  • Eryri National Park (Snowdonia) (Wales)
  • Appalachian Mountains (USA and Canada)
  • Bruce Trail (Canada)
  • Cairngorm Mountains (Scotland)
  • Canadian Rockies (Canada)
  • Alps (Monaco, France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Slovenia)
  • Carpathian Mountains (Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czechia, Serbia)
  • West Highland Way (Scotland)
  • Grand Canyon (USA)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  • Adirondack Mountains (USA)
  • Inca Trail (Peru)
  • Himalayas (Nepal, China, Pakistan, Bhutan, India)
  • Caucasus Mountains (Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Iran)
  • Gran Paradiso (Italy)
  • Pyrenees (France and Spain)
  • Yosemite National Park (USA)

Why the South West Coast Path? 

Hike sitting with two backpacks on the South West Coast Path

We all know that the SWCP is a special place. 

In my personal opinion, it makes people happy because many visitors to the South West don’t realise just how beautiful the UK can be. We might not always have the same weather as place abroad, but our dramatic craggy cliffs and bright sandy beaches can easily compete with other European beach destinations. 

It’s wonderful to hear some positive news about the UK (it can often feel far too pessimistic!) and it goes to show how much of a uniting force the South West Coast Path can be. 

Take a look at my full South West Coast Path guide, my list of the best beaches in Devon and my list of the best beaches in Cornwall

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