Couch to Coast
Every Mile Matters because we all need somewhere to connect actively to Nature
The South West Coast Path Association has been working in partnership with Active Devon during 2019 and 2020 to help people in North Devon re-establish their connection with nature, getting fitter and healthier in the process. Many people over 55 (particularly those who have retired) can see a drop off in physical activity and can become isolated, affecting both their mental and physical health and creating an additional burden on our health services.
What we did
We have set up a series of ‘Couch to Coast’ walks in Westward-Ho!, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe (planned) aimed at inactive over 55s who were looking to take their first steps on the Coast Path and wanted to build up their confidence with walking. Through a series of gentle walks, gradually increasing in distance we aimed to help participants reach the point where they can walk 5km on the Trail. To help bring each walk to life, we incorporated a range of activities such as bird watching, Nordic Walking and photography, as well as having guest speakers walk with us to explain more about local history and cultural links.
How it helped
To date, over 50 people in North Devon have taken part in the walks, helping to increase their confidence in doing physical exercise and walking, introducing them to the benefits of being out and about in nature (particularly by the coast) and helping them to socialise and meet with others as a way of improving their mental health. 40% of participants had one of more disabilities. Many of those who attended the sessions have kept in touch and are continuing to meet up and walk together – including visits to the South West Coast Path. Unfortunately some of our later walks have been postponed due to COVID-19 but we’re looking forward to getting back out there with our Couch to Coast groups.
Association contribution: £5,000 funding per year for overall programme, plus staff time for coordination, promotion and delivery
Partner contribution: £2,000 per project
Partners: Active Devon, Devon Local Nature Partnership
Date completed: On-going
Find out more: here