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Educational trails gone, but not forgotten

You may remember at the end of 2017, thanks to a generous private donation, along with some other external funding, we embarked on a new adventure to encourage more schools and young people to use the Coast Path. Through our ‘Coast Path Explorers’ project, we delivered numerous workshops in schools, developing resources and activities for students as well as attending a number of key educational events. But perhaps the most important part of this project, was the installation of two educational rubbings trails along the Coast Path at Wembury in South Devon.

Each rubbings trail consisted of six plaques (one going east and one going west from Wembury beach), that featured coastal items for children to ‘collect’ on their rubbings activity sheet. The idea was to encourage families with young children to explore beyond the beach and take a walk along the Coast Path. The trails were installed in early 2018 and the plan was to keep them up for one year, but thanks to their popularity, some extra funding and our careful selection of materials, the trail lasted for three full summer seasons. Regrettably, the time has now come to take the plaques down. With the funding long gone and the weather having taken its toll, along with general wear and tear from usage, the plaques are being removed this month.  

These trails have been a great success in a number of ways. They allowed us to have a more physical presence on the Coast Path. Likewise, the information and stories in supporting materials have expanded our education resources, many of which are still available on our website. It has also been a great opportunity to develop and grow our partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust’s Wembury Marine Centre, as well as the National Trust South Devon team. In addition, we had some fabulous support from local businesses such as the Old Mill Café and Churchwood Valley Holiday Cabins, who stocked our supporting leaflets. And for parents, it was a chance to encourage children to walk, establishing healthy habits early on in life and to give their children a goal to focus on and achieve (very useful in getting little legs to walk that little bit further!) 

   

Photos: Vickie Moss Photography

Over the course of the project, we have distributed over 2,000 leaflets and given out numerous certificates of completion to all ages.  Towards the end of summer 2018, we held a dedicated day for the rubbings trails with over 140 people coming to get involved.  Half of this number were children, with 90% of attendees under 45 years old, demonstrating its appeal to family audience. It was also a great opportunity to tell people more about our work as the charity looking after the Coast Path as half of the people attending hadn’t heard of the SWCPA before.

Here is some of the feedback we have received about it:

‘Kids loved the challenge of finding the posts. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves’ 

‘Very well organised, good length for children’

‘Our children are always excited to do a trail’

‘It was great for toddlers as it kept him entertained along the trail’.

We would like to say a special thank you to the person who donated, along with the Steel Charitable Trust, the ATASS Foundation, 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, Awards for All, Gibbons Family Charitable Trust and Natural England who helped make this work possible. Looking forward, we would love to be able to do something similar in the future and are always on the lookout for funding and partnership opportunities.

Published on: Jan. 4, 2021