A final toast to the coast on the South West Coast Path
On Saturday 31st October, the last leg of the South West Coast Path Challenge took place on the Dorset coast
with 110 people taking part to pledge their support for the Coast Path.
Participants were treated to unseasonably warm weather as they walked from Durlston Country Park, along high level cliff tops and open grassland towards the white chalk stacks of Old Harry, before continuing on to South Haven Point. Among them were a group of rangers from the National Trust’s Purbeck Estate team, including the youngest walker Torstein Gjesme aged just 3 and half years old, who all rose to the occasion by dressing up in Halloween costume.
Just before the ferry to Sandbanks, participants posed for pictures alongside the famous steel sculpture that marks the official end point of the 630-mile South West Coast Path National Trail. It also marked the end of the month long event to set a new world record for the number of times the Coast Path can be walked in October and to raise funds to protect it in future. Over 9,000 miles have been walked which is equivalent to 14.5 times round the 630-mile South West Coast Path.
The event was organised by the South West Coast Path Association, with the National Trust as a charity partner as part of its coastal celebrations in 2015 to mark 50 years of its Neptune campaign.
Hayley Partridge, South West Coast Path Association Events Officer says;
“We’ve had four amazing 10-mile challenge walks in October, beginning at the very start of the Path in Minehead down to the most southerly point in Cornwall across to Plymouth and finally along this stunning stretch of coast in Dorset.
“It’s been a truly memorable experience for all those who took part, from the very young who may have experienced coastal walking for the very first time, to the group of ladies who took part in all four of the organised walks. It’s provided an opportunity for people to get together with friends and family, see some beautiful scenery while helping to celebrate the coastline.
“All the money raised will go towards Path improvement projects to help protect the coastline for future generations. It costs at least £1,000 to maintain just 1 mile of Coast Path and every mile counts!”
Mark Harold, Regional Director of the National Trust says;
“With over 300 miles of coastline in the South West owned and cared for by the National Trust, the South West Coast Path is the golden thread that joins our coastal outdoors sites together.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Association on their flagship event as part of our coastal festival celebrations this year and look forward to seeing the final total for the number of miles clocked up in one month.”
As well as miles walked, thousands of pounds have been pledged by people creating their own challenge or by joining one of the four organised walks that took place in all four corners of the Coast Path from Minehead to Poole. With money still coming in, the final figure is yet to be established and it’s still possible to pledge your support even if you weren’t able to take part in the inaugural event. Donate online at http://bit.ly/CoastChallenge or by text message from a mobile phone including the message: SWCP15 £10 to 70070.
The event will run again next year when the plan will be to beat the record set this October and increase the fundraising to help protect the Coast Path.
Pictured above: Bella Crawford of the National Trust and Mark Owen, the South West Coast Path National Trail Officer.
South West Water is supporting the Coast Path’s activities this year with sponsorship as part of its environmental concerns helping to keep bathing waters at our beaches clean for everyone to enjoy.
For more information and to keep up to date with the latest news and views from the Coast Path visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk
Published on: Oct. 29, 2015