South West Coast Path Forum

We will be hosting the 2023 SW Coast Path Forum on Friday 16th June at 11:00 - 13:00

New Cooperage, Royal William Yard, Stonehouse, Plymouth PL1 3RP

We’re celebrating 50 years of the SW Coast Path Association this year and as part of the celebrations we’re hosting a Coast Path Forum at Royal William Yard, Plymouth. The Coast Path Forum was first held in 2020 and has continued as an annual virtual event in 2021 and 2022. This year we’re hosting the Forum as an in-person event.

Whereas the rest of the 50th-anniversary celebrations focus on the last 50 years, the Forum is being used as an opportunity for us to look forward to the next 50 years of the Coast Path.

Specifically, what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for the National Trail/England Coast Path. The format is a series of short presentations from speakers covering different aspects of the Coast Path (equity of access, climate change, nature recovery, regenerative tourism, community engagement and coastal wildbelt) followed by a panel session with all the speakers chaired by Sarah Mukherjee MBE.

Confirmed speakers include:

Samantha Richardson MBE, Director of National Coastal Tourism Academy
Ali Pretty, Chair of World Trails Network Arts & Culture Task Team
Rebecca Burton, Regional Director for the South West, National Trust
Jim McNeill, Founder, Ice Warrior
Julian Gray, Chair of National Trails UK/Director SWCP Association

This event is free but you will need to register to attend



2021 SWCP Forum

As part of our ‘Path to Recovery’ event series, on June 11th 2021 we hosted the South West Coast Path Forum to hear more from a panel of experts about Britain’s longest National Trail. We discussed the Path’s value in terms of health & wellbeing benefits, support to the local economy and its role in protecting and conserving nature.

You can catch up on the event by watching the video clips below.

Introduction to the 2021 SWCP Forum

Your Next Adventure Starts Here (short film) and an introduction and scene setting from Julian Gray, Director South West Coast Path Association

Environment stream

Hellen Dobby, Environement Agency talks about climate change impact, mitigation and action. Rebecca Burton, National Trust highlights the impartance of working in partnership to maximise the combined access and biodiversity benefits along ther coastal margin. Richard Walton, South West Coast Path National Trail Officer showcases significant capital works along the Coast Path through a £750k RDPE programme.

Equity of Access stream

Including Dr Anjana Khatwa, Trustee, AONB Association highlighting access and diversity issues. David Morris, Director, Centre for Citizenship and Community, University of Central Lancashire and Olivia Craig, SEO Devon Mind announce our partnership to help leaverage the mental health benefits of walking the Caost Path. Alex Turner, South West Coast Path Projects Officer showcases our equity of access pilot projects along the Coast Path

Sustainable economy stream

Alistair Handyside MBE, SW Tourism Alliance talks about the impacts of the pandemic on the SW tourism sector and visitor economy. Genevieve Hinchliff, Fundraising Manager, South West Coast Path Association highlights the charity's fundraising work to suppoprt the Coast Path.

Looking forward

The Forum shows there is significant interest in the issues raised including: climate change impacts and mitigation; equity of access including diversity, health & wellbeing and accessibility; and the economic benefits of trails… and their role in supporting recovery post-pandemic; and the role of trails in active travel – connecting communities and places.

Our challenge is to not lose momentum, but to keep the conversations and actions moving forward within the South West Coast Path Association, SWCP Trail Partnership, and also across our various networks and wider stakeholder groups. Specifically, we want to articulate our key environment and climate change actions at Cop 26 later this year. We also want to strengthen our partnerships in the equity of access space and encourage better dialogue with less represented groups. As the visitor economy reboots, we also need to improve engagement through expansion of the Way Maker programme.

We want to help ensure by the next Forum in 2022 we have progressed across all these themes, helping ensure the South West Coast Path deserves its title as one of the world’s great trails and maximises this role in helping address some of the challenges of our time.

South West Coast Path World Trails G7 Summit

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