Coast Path Explorers For Kids

Every Mile Matter because interests we develop as a child, can stay with us for life

The South West Coast Path Association has been working with children in South Devon, helping to combat some of the many health and wellbeing issues facing our young people today.

Childhood obesity is on the rise with nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 classed as overweight or obese. Mental health problems are also on the rise with an estimated 1 in 10 children being diagnosed and many more suffering in silence. That means in an average class of 30 young people, three will have a mental health problem.

There is also growing evidence to suggest spending time outdoors helps children perform better in the classroom by improving memory retention and increasing levels of motivation. In a recent project at a school in Plymouth about outdoor learning, researchers found 92% of teachers surveyed said that pupils were more engaged with learning when outdoors and 85% saw a positive impact on their behaviour. Despite this, studies show that 75% of children spend less time outside than inmates do in prison.

What we did

In January 2018 we launched our ‘Coast Path Explorers’ education programme for primary-aged children which ran until May 2019, focusing on the Wembury area. We worked with over 20 schools and 900 children, introducing them to and engaging them with, their local National Trail. We aimed to spark a lasting interest in the outdoors which would encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

How it helped

Parents and teachers alike gave positive feedback on the Explorers programme and the impact on their children. Highlights of the work delivered include:

  • Two rubbings trail established along the Coast Path at Wembury
  • Workshops in schools focussing on the topic of Smugglers with map activities to complete within school grounds. This lead to the development of our resource pack and other resources.
  • Leading activities along the Coast Path with school groups including Wembury, Sparkwell and Newton Ferrers Primary Schools, working in partnership with Wembury Marine Centre and Beach School South West.

Resources for activities for school trips can be borrowed from Wembury Marine Centre and a copy of the project report is available here

Total project cost: £40,000

Funding was secured from an individual donor, the Steel Charitable Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Awards for All, Natural England and the ATASS Foundation.

Partners: Wembury Marine Centre, National Trust

Date completed: May 2019