Us, them, and you - taking care of the South West Coast Path
In the 19th Century, coastguards along the South West peninsula would patrol miles after miles of cliff edges on the lookout for smugglers. The meandering coastline could shelter the devious vessels in coves and inlets, so the patrol routes would ensure every nook and cranny was explored and watched over.
It’s these well-worn paths that form the Coast Path we know and love today, stretching from Minehead on the edge of Exmoor, all the way to Poole Harbour in Dorset. Those 630 miles make it the longest National Trail in the country, steeped in history across a spectacular landscape.
Many of the walks around our coastal sites will use the South West Coast Path for either part, or all, of the route. Because of this, the National Trust and the South West Coast Path (SWCP) work closely together to keep these places in great shape for all to enjoy.
For day-to-day maintenance, that often means our rangers and volunteers are carrying out tasks like strimming back long grass, repairing and installing posts, signs and benches, fixing steps and levelling uneven paths.
On a larger scale, this could include making an area fully accessible for wheelchairs, pushchairs, and other accessibility difficulties, such as the improvements made at Bolberry Down, South Devon, and Salcombe Hill, East Devon.
Because of these improvements, the South West Coast Path can be enjoyed by even more visitors who wish to explore new coastal areas.
None of this could be achieved without the support of our members and visitors, as well as every person who supports the SWCP. Because of you, we are able to look after the places that mean so much to so many people across the country.
The South West Coast Path Challenge
Just a single mile of the coast path costs around £1000 to maintain each year. Public funding has been cut by 30%, meaning the future of this unique trail is even more reliant on the support of visitors.
In order to fundraise for the South West Coast Path, the SWCP are hosting a whole month of activities and challenges with one goal: to set a new world record for the number of times the Coast Path is walked in a single month.
With a target of 10,000 miles, the month of October will see serious hikers and casual strollers alike taking to the path to raise money for its care.
If you want to take part, you can either join an organised trail event or select a section of the Coast Path to complete at your own pace.
All you need to do is pledge the number of miles you’d like to walk and complete it within the month of October, and your miles will be added to the Mileometer tracking the record-breaking attempt.
Just by taking part, you’ll be making a huge difference to the places that are cherished by millions of visitors every year.
There are two running events taking place in South Devon during the challenge month:
- Sunday 2 October will be the East Portlemouth to Dartmouth Castle Trail.
- Saturday 30 October will be the Head to Head Trail, in the Salcombe area.
For more information and to register your participation in an event or your own challenge, head over to the South West Coast Path Challenge 2016.