South West rallies behind Coast Path to raise over £40,000 for 40th anniversary

People all over the South West came together recently to help us raise over £40,000 to mark the 40th anniversary of the South West Coast Path. We launched the #40FOR40 campaign to celebrate 40 years of the region’s world-famous walking trail by raising funds to protect it. Thanks to hundreds of you showing your support, we managed to beat our target, raising a fantastic £43,077 that will go towards protecting, maintaining and improving the Path, helping to safeguard access to our coastline now and in the future.

Being exposed to the elements and the feet of millions of walkers means the Coast Path needs constant attention to keep it accessible and in world-class condition. Climate change is bringing more frequent and severe storms to batter the coastline of the South West. 2018 saw major storms like Brian, Emma and Callum damaging our coastline as well as the Coast Path being affected by other extreme weather events like the Beast from the East and the hottest summer on record. As a result, the Association has stepped up in recent years to help fundraise for the Path, with #40FOR40 being our first region-wide fundraising campaign. We also raise essential funds through membership fees, donations, legacies and grants, utilising match funding wherever possible to help make every pound we get, go that bit further.  

We were delighted to gain the support of well-known outdoor enthusiasts like TV’s Julia Bradbury, five-time Olympian Jo Pavey, ultra-marathon runner Damian Hall and trail runners Jen & Sim to name but a few. We also got backing from the likes of Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden project and the Sunday Times Best-Selling author Raynor Winn, writer of the Salt Path who lives just a stones throw from the Path near Fowey. Even local businesses came forward to help, like the Cornish luxury accommodation provider Beach Retreats who visited over 40 beaches in a day, the Devon Life Editorial Team, Devon’s Top Attractions, East Devon District Countryside Team, Sunday Afternoon Hats, Forthglade Natural Pet Food to help support the campaign.

Perhaps the most rewarding part for us though, was reading some of the stories that came from fundraisers who challenged themselves in all sorts of ways to fundraise for the Path and help us reach our target. Here are some quotes from just some of our supporters:

Paul Eddy from Camborne walked 40 miles with his fiancé Lindsay and raised over £400. Paul said, “Walking is my passion, but it has become so though the journey of recovery from alcoholism, anxiety and depression. I have been so fortunate to have rediscovered my past love for the Path, which now gives me the space to completely relax and walk my mind clear without the need from medication, which once replaced the alcohol I had used to mask my issues. It’s great to have been able to help this cause and give back to the Path for the enormous contribution it has made to the health and happiness of me and my family.”

Becca Mabelle from Plymouth in Devon ran 10 marathons in 10 days. Becca said, “The trails are my playground, my happy place. I was lucky enough to spend 10 consecutive days in the summer on the Coast Path and I saw it in all its glory. I value the trail because it provides so much in the way of untamed beauty and for me at least, therapy, yet costs nothing to use. It does however cost quite a bit to maintain and it’s so easy to forget that. So, to have been able to contribute to the amazing #40FOR40 fundraising campaign has been a privilege and a way of giving something back to the Path that has given so much to me.”

Luke Elliott, Founder of the Plymouth Coastal Runners said, “A few years ago I discovered the delights of running on the South West Coast Path and wanted to get more people involved, which is how Plymouth Coastal Runners was born. Since then, I’ve learnt a lot about how much it costs to maintain or replace a set of steps, replace sections of fence or keep the foliage and brambles under control so walkers and runners can use the Path. It’s so nice to know, that as a group we're doing our bit to support the charity that works so hard to allow us to enjoy our passion for coastal running. Thank you!”

Jennie Bayliss, from Portland in Dorset walked 400 miles in 34 days. Jennie said, “It was every bit as challenging as I thought, but most surprising was the deep inner peace I found whilst walking every day for almost five weeks. I love that the Association looks after, protects, sign-posts and keeps thethe Path open, so we get to enjoy it—whether it's for a gentle stroll or a walking marathon. I am honoured to have been part of the #40FOR40 campaign and am so pleased to hear they exceeded their target.” 

Culvin Milmer, Visitor Services Manager for Swanage Town Council ran the entire Path within 22 days. Culvin said, “Running the entire 630 miles really brought home to me how hard it must be to look after the South West Coast Path. It is a huge asset to our region and something that the whole South West can be proud of, so I am delighted to know I’ve been able to help the Association raise such a fantastic amount of money to protect, maintain and improve it. I genuinely believe we have the best coastline in the country and hope anyone reading this is inspired to do there bit to support it in any way they can.”

Violet Howley from Wedmore in Somerset is a member of the Association and donated towards the campaign. Violet said, “The information provided by the charity is brilliant and I couldn’t have completed the Path without it. The majority of people I speak to don’t seem to know about the wonderful work they do, so I try to tell as many people as I can. I feel honoured to have access to such a beautiful, varied and challenging coastline and would urge anyone who uses the Path to support the Association and the work they do to protect it.” 

Charlotte Dixon and Paul Cooper from Plymouth said, “‘We both have a love of the coast. We were lucky enough to be born and live near the sea and the Path has a special place in our hearts, in particular because that is where our relationship grew by going off on Coast Path adventures together. The Path has given us so much, so it is great to be able to do something in return and we are delighted to have been able to contribute to #40FOR40. Thank you South West Coast Path Association!’

We would like to say a special thank you to everyone who supported this anniversary campaign by donating or fundraising. It was really uplifting to get such a great response from the people of the South West and just goes to show how much people care about the Path and what they are able to take from it. We hope people will continue to show their support with future campaigns we run or consider supporting the Path by becoming a member of the Association. For more info click here.



Published on: Nov. 21, 2018