The Great South West Walks 2014 Opens For Bookings - 100 New Walks Announced

Land's End Family by Andrea Lim

With 100 stunning coastal walks to choose from, the Great South West Walks 2014 is now open for bookings.

These specially selected circular walks by the South West Coast Path Association, will take place across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset from 20th – 28th September.

Walkers can look forward to taking part in easy and family friendly strolls as well as challenging and rough terrain treks; many of the walks have themes such as history and wildlife, mining heritage, foraging, Jurassic geology and even a barefoot hike - each guided by an expert walk leader.

The event will raise vital funds for the South West Coast Path Association and Children’s Hospice South West, through these sponsored walks, which will go towards the improvement of the South West Coast Path and supporting children with life limiting illnesses.

Ken Carter chairman of the Great South West Walks project team, is delighted to be able to announce the walks saying:

“This year’s event is gearing up to be fantastic, with a real variety of themes and types of walks in place. These celebrate the South West’s strong heritage and history, which walkers  will be able to experience alongside helping to support the Coast Path and CHSW.”

One of the walks chosen for Cornwall is a circular walk at Perranuthnoe, near Helston.

This walk will be led by National Trust Barefoot Ranger Julie Hanson, with hedgerow and wild food foraging along the way.

Julie will be leading this walk barefoot and encourages anyone who is interested in partaking to join her in the sensory phenomenon that is barefoot hiking – by walking barefoot you can experience the Coast Path like never before.

Walkers can try the barefoot experience for the entire route or, for the more tentative, short stretches if slip on shoes are worn.

Julie will also be explaining which wild foods and hedgerow findings can be eaten along the route through foraging techniques.

Julie Hanson, National Trust Barefoot Ranger, is delighted to be able to lead a walk as part of the event saying:

“I am really looking forward to leading the Barefoot Hike as part of the Great South West Walks as I feel it is a truly unique way of experiencing the Coast Path. There are many benefits to walking barefoot alongside foot health – plus there is no way of getting closer to nature and being more a part of the environment than feeling the path between your toes. I hope lots of participants join me!”

This walk is one of the Great South West Walks’ easy routes at 2.3 miles and is recommended as child friendly.

For Dorset, one of the walks is a Historical Tour at Church Ope Cove in Portland, led by walk leader Andy Straw.

This walk will showcase the scene of possibly the first Viking raids of our country at Church Ope Cove, as well as visiting ruins of the pre-Norman St Andrews Church.

It will take in the East Wears, where Sir Christopher Wren selected the very stone he used for the re-building of St Pauls Cathedral in London and see the point at which the stone was loaded on to barges.

Andy Straw, (Volunteer Coast Ranger and SWCPA Representative) for the Isle of Portland, is delighted to be able to lead a walk as part of the event saying:

“This stretch of the South West Coast Path is steeped in history and has a rugged beauty. The walk certainly has an eerie atmosphere as giant eyes watch you as you walk! I am excited to lead this walk as part of the Great South West Walks as I hope to be able to take the participants on a journey through time to explore the exciting moments of the past that this area experienced.”

At 2.6 miles this walk is one of the Great South West Walks’ Moderate routes for a fascinating delve into history with leader Andy Straw.

One of the walks chosen for Somerset is a ‘landscape that inspired the poets’ walk, to be led by Alistair and Gill Campbell.

This walk will start at Yenworthy on Exmoor and is 7.4 miles - more challenging for the experienced walker.

The walk will follow a route through the stunning landscape which inspired 18th century poets William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who together founded the Romantic Movement in England.

Walkers will follow Coleridge’s footsteps along the South West Coast Path where he was known to have often walked and, just off this route, penned his famous dream poem Kubla Khan. 

Alistair and Gill Campbell, authors of the Porlock Walks book and conservation volunteers, are delighted to be able to lead this walk, saying:

“This is a stunning area of the South West which is clearly inspiring for many creative people. We are looking forward to sharing this section of the Coast Path with all those who enjoys the romantic views and environment of this area as part of the Great South West Walks.  Who knows, we might even be inspired to write some poetry ourselves!”

One of the walks chosen for Devon is a Jurassic Coast Geology walk at Beer in South Devon.

This moderate walk of 5.3 miles will showcase a stretch of the breathtaking Jurassic Coast with walk leader Mike Green explaining some of the points of interest at this World Heritage Site.

The Jurassic Coast’s entire length can be walked on the South West Coast Path and has been named as one of the wonders of the South West.

The cliffs document 180 million years of geological history, including Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations.

Mike Green, Jurassic Coast Ambassador, is delighted to be able to lead a walk as part of the event saying:

“The Jurassic Coast is a fantastic part of the South West’s heritage and I am honoured to be able to share some of its wonders as part of the Great South West Walks. Many people admire the coast without understanding how it was formed and its story, so it is fantastic that they will have the opportunity to learn about its history alongside supporting the Coast Path and CHSW.”

For anyone who just can’t wait until September, they can get an early chance to take part in this and four other Great South West Walks with BBC Radio Devon as part of their Walk Devon series - contact the South West Coast Path Association at [email protected] for more details.

To take part in the September event, participants can visit the Great South West Walks website and choose one or several of the 100 walks that they would like to participate in at  

Alternatively, registration can be made via telephone by calling the South West Coast Path Association on 01752 896237.

Further information about the organisations and the walks can be found on the website, or on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath or Facebook /SWCPA

Published on: June 16, 2014