Charity partnership with the National Trust sees record breaking results...

Thanks to the charity partnership between the South West Coast Path Association and the National Trust, the record breaking results of the inaugural South West Coast Path Challenge in October have been revealed with impressive results.

Close to 700 people stepped out on the Coast Path throughout the month to help raise funds for improvement projects while clocking up as many miles as they could to set a new world record. More than 9,000 miles have been recorded, the equivalent to completing the entire length of the 630 mile Coast Path 15 times, or from here to the other side of the world in Australia.

Among the participants were event patron Monty Halls and TV comic Bill Bailey, as well as individuals and teams from the two charities themselves. Event organiser Hayley Partridge walked 30 miles for her 30th birthday, which just happened to be on the 1st October. Other members of the Association staff completed their own challenges too, as well as attending all four of the organised walks between them including Minehead to Porlock Weir, Gunwalloe to Lizard Point, Plymouth's waterfront walk and Durlston to South Haven Point.   

The National Trust got behind the event, not least because they own almost a third of the South West Coast Path, but it also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Neptune campaign to protect the coastline.

A team of National Trust rangers from the North and South coast of Devon took part in their own Coast to Coast Challenge, which involved a 75-mile bike ride, a 6-mile canoe along the river Dart and an 8-mile run.

Timothy Bumby, the National Trust’s lead ranger for the English Riviera said:

Timothy Bumby on the Coast to Coast Challenge“It was a great challenge linking the North and South coasts, which took us just under 11 hours. It poured with rain throughout the bike and finished in glorious sunshine on the coast path!"

As well as being an amazing achievement, the team raised more than £1,500 to be shared between the National Trust and the Association to care for the coast.

On the North Cornwall coast, 18 runners gathered at Tintagel at sunrise to run between 5 to 10 miles, clocking up 200 miles between them.

The Roseland team of rangers in South East Cornwall walked 26 miles along the Coast Path that they maintain, starting at Portmellon in the east and on to Place at the western end of their patch. They also raised around £1,500.

Equally impressive were a group of workers from Lanhydrock in Cornwall, who decided to take on the entire South West Coast Path in a relay. This was a walking Matt Lewis from team Lanhydrockchallenge that covered long distances, often starting before sunrise and finishing after sunset. Between them they hope to have raised £1,000 with more funds still coming in.

It costs at least £1,000 to maintain just 1 mile of Coast Path and an additional £2,000 for the National Trust to maintain the countryside that surrounds it, so every mile counts.

Matt Lewis who coordinated the team from Lanhydrock and completed his own challenge by walking 115 miles from Exmouth to Poole, said:

“As a landlocked property we were incredibly keen to get involved. The idea of splitting the entire 630 miles into sections was floated amongst the group. This really seemed to capture everyone’s imagination and off we went.

“It was such a good opportunity for Lanhydrock staff to help raise funds and awareness and a really good prompt to get us all out walking those sections we’ve always meant to do but never actually got round to.”

Overall, the South West Coast Path Challenge has been a great success thanks to the support from its charity partner in helping to raise the profile of the event, alongside numerous businesses and individuals that got behind it too. As the Association's key sponsor, South West Water was heavily involved in helping to spread the word among its customers and their logo was carried on all the event t-shirts and marketing collateral.

Media partners included the Western Morning News on Sunday, the Archant series of county magazines in the South West and Country Walking, all of which carried features about the event to encourage people to take part.

Plans are already in place for the event to run again next year in an attempt to beat the record set this October and increase the fundraising to help protect the Coast Path.

Pictured above: Timothy Bumby setting out on a Coast Path run with his Coast to Coast team and Matt Lewis, who led the Lanhydrock team of National Trust staff on a journey along the length of the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path.

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. 

Anyone who wasn’t able to take part in the Coast Path Challenge can still donate online at or by text message from their mobile phone including the message: SWCP15 £10 to 70070 to donate and help make a difference to ensure future generations can enjoy access to this stunning coastline.

Published on: Nov. 25, 2015