South West Coast Path crowned best British walking route

The South West Coast Path National Trail has been voted the Best British walking route by Walk magazine for the second time in row and the timing couldn’t be more apt.

In the past two months, the UK has suffered some of the most severe weather ever to hit these shores and the South West has taken the biggest battering. What the award and the weather have highlighted however, is just how well managed the coastline is for walkers.

Mark Owen, the National Trail Officer for the South West Coast Path says:

“The storms have put enormous pressure on those that maintain the Coast Path on a day to day basis with the Highways Agencies and National Trust coastal rangers out in force trying to keep the Coast Path accessible wherever possible – and they’re doing a fantastic job!

“Relatively few areas have had to close and where there are problems that can’t be solved immediately, due to a landslide or unstable cliffs, short diversions have been put in place to re-route walkers along an alternative public right of way.

“While walkers need to take care when walking along the more rural routes that are harder to reach and may take longer to repair, the majority is still safe, especially in the more urban areas.”

This sentiment echoes what the rest of the region’s tourism industry has declared, in spite of the elements, with the successful Open for Business campaign.

While the award was voted for by readers of the magazine published by the Ramblers’ Association, the editor Dominic Bates agrees that it was a well deserved win saying;

“With management of national trails now devolved to local trail partnerships and cutbacks beginning to bite, the organisations behind the South West Coast Path have been hugely successful at raising money through public and private funds to invest in improvement projects along the route.

“It’s proof positive of the public’s appetite for coastal walking and will be grist to the mill for our continuing campaign to get the England Coast Path completed.”

News of the award win comes just weeks after it was announced that the Coast Path is worth £436m to the region’s tourism economy and is recognised as a valuable asset among local businesses after it received the 'Outstanding Contribution to Tourism' title at the South West England Tourism Excellence Awards 2013-14.

Caption: Looking out to sea on the South West Coast Path. Photograph by Richard Taylor.

Published on: Feb. 25, 2014