The Path changes lives

The South West Coast Path National Trail is about access. There are very real mental and physical health benefits to accessing nature, particularly the freedom of the coastal landscape.

These real-life people stories show how the Path changes lives for the better:

Stacia, 66

Bereavement

"When I was suddenly widowed, it would have been very easy to sit in my own home and feel justifiably sorry for myself. I was afraid of being alone for the rest of my life when I had always been part of a couple. I was missing my husband terribly and I was coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on from the way in which he died.

At the time I was also suffering with a bad back and nerve damage down one leg, and I suffer with Morton’s Neuromas, which make walking tricky anyway. It is perhaps ironic that I chose to walk 630 miles with only my dog for company, a bad back, bad feet and a dodgy leg – when the thing I was struggling with was being alone and my own physical vulnerability.

In fact, that total immersion into solitude broken only occasionally by fellow walkers, in the midst of such beauty and the physical challenges that made me poignantly aware of my existence, was perhaps the only way I personally could have made it through the difficulties of that first year. I am eternally grateful for the existence of the South West Coast Path.”

Caroline, 48

Post-amputation rehabilitation

“Walking all the South West Coast Path was one of the biggest physical and emotional challenges I have ever taken on. My fitness levels improved, and I climbed hills that I never thought I was capable of. I am so proud of my achievement. It has made me stronger mentally and physically.” 

  

Andy, 61

Recovey from major-injury

"The South West Coast Path made me walk again. I broke my back and could only walk very short distances. We would drive from Wiltshire down to Dorset and walk about a mile at a time before gradually increasing to about five miles. The wonderful views inspired me to walk further and further. I now live a mile from the South West Coast Path in North Cornwall. I walk on it every day. It keeps me motivated."

 

Sarah, 30

Mental health

"This year has been one of my toughest in terms of emotional well-being, but the thing that has been my absolute rock is the Path. I had a month where I had zero energy but I took myself back to the Path and WOW....did it do wonders. The Path has been my rock. It's seen me through every emotion and I'm so grateful for the upkeep that you all provide."

  

Read about the infrastructure projects on the ground which make the Trail accessible, funded thanks to the generousity of our supporters, here.