South West Coast Path Challenge
What is the Challenge?
Each year, we encourage as many people as we can - you, your friends, family and colleagues - to get out and enjoy fresh air and exercise on the South West Coast Path during the month of October. It’s a collective effort to cover as many miles of the Path, and raise as much money towards its promotion, improvement and protection as possible. This year we’re working closely with our charity partners, The National Trust.
Last year, 800 people took part in the Challenge. Between them they clocked up just over 12,500 miles (that’s equivalent to 20 times around the whole 630-mile Coast Path!) and raised nearly £19,000 through their entrance fees and individual sponsorship efforts. To see some of the projects we’ve delivered thanks to this fundraising effort, click here.
Why do we need to raise money?
At 630-miles long, the Path is the longest of England’s National Trails, is internationally recognised, and attracts visitors from all over the world. It runs through incredibly diverse and beautiful scenery, is free to use and open to everyone. And it’s not just a stunning natural asset - it generates significant value for our economy. Our research shows that Path users (local, national and international visitors) spend around £500 million each year in our local businesses – accommodation & camping, gifts, entrance fees, food & drink, transport and such like.
But it’s expensive to keep the Path in good order – it costs about £1,000 per mile every year for basic maintenance (way-markers, steps, bridges, information boards and so on). That’s nearly three-quarters of a million pounds just to keep the Path open! It costs significantly more than that for structural repairs after serious storm damage, and to improve the Path for future users.
Unfortunately, government funding of the South West Coast Path has declined by 30% in the past five years and is under constant threat, placing more need on the Association to raise funds. And the more money we can raise with your help, the more leverage we’ll have to apply to other funding sources. It’s a continuous process and we’re grateful for your help. Hence the Challenge.
The 2017 Challenge
This year we’re hoping to inspire 1,000 of you take part, to clock up 15,000 miles between you, and to raise £20,000 through your individual sponsorship efforts. Your personal challenge contribution can be as long or short, as demanding or easy, as quick or slow as you like.
You can choose between joining us on a hosted event such as our 10-milers at each end of the Path - Minehead and Swanage - full details of which are coming soon, or going freestyle with your own D.I.Y. event - a walk, run, jog or anything else you fancy. Either you on your own, or with others you’ve inspired to join in.
To register your interest
Please bear with us - we’re not quite ready to take registrations for the 2017 Challenge (hosted or D.I.Y.). Just tell us who you are in the form below and we’ll let you know as soon as we’re up and running!