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300 Businesses become Coast Path Way Makers

Over 300 businesses along the Coast Path have joined a program to connect them to the 9 million walkers that visit the National Trail, ahead of what is set to be a bumper year for walking tourism. As businesses along the South West coast ready themselves to re-open fully, the South West Coast Path Association (SWCPA) is helping connect them with visitors, promoting local food and drink, accommodation and experiences.

As the charity that champions, protects and cares for the Coast Path, the SWCPA created the new Way Maker program with the aim of supporting local businesses in their recovery from the pandemic. It has been designed to enable businesses such as cafes, campsites, B&Bs, hotels, pubs, restaurants, attractions and activity providers to promote their offering on Coast Path walks within a five-mile radius of their location. The cost-effective scheme, which starts from just £25 a year, gives businesses an opportunity to attract new customers whilst generating much needed support and funding for the Coast Path, which is facing increasing challenges due to coastal erosion, climate change and increased footfall.

Alistair Handyside MBE, Chair of the South West Tourism Alliance and the Professional Association of Self-Caterers 

"The Way Maker program is a bold new approach and one that all local businesses should be getting behind. Supporting the charity that looks after our most treasured tourism attraction is essential and also very  good for business. By working together to protect the places we, and our customers love, we are demonstrating that the South West can be a leader when it comes to sustainable tourism.”

Photo: Alistair Handside MBE, Owner of Higher Wiscombe Cottages in East Devon, Chair of the South West Tourism Alliance and the Professional Association of Self-Caterers.

Russ Peake, Director of walking holiday company Western Discoveries 

“The Way Maker scheme is a win-win for the Path, those who love visiting it and local businesses.  It means we can all play our role in caring for it and protecting this amazing environmental asset for the future, whilst also helping people to share in its health-giving benefits and making sure local business and communities share in the economic benefits it brings to the region too.” 

Photo: Russ and Sabrina, Owners and Directors of walking holiday company Western Discoveries

The world-famous trail is one of the region’s best loved tourism attractions, supporting over 10,000 jobs and bringing more than £520 million into the local economy. The SWCPA is encouraging visitors, and it’s 10,000 members who support the charity to ‘vote with their feet’ and support businesses who are giving back to the Path as Way Makers.

Sarah Gunn, Business Engagement for the SWCPA said, “It has been an incredibly difficult time for the tourism and hospitality businesses along the Path, so we wanted to find a way to support businesses and help them make the most of the new staycation market, as well as the nation’s newfound enthusiasm for getting active in nature.

“Thousands of walkers start their journey with us, wanting recommendations on where to stay, eat, drink and visit along the way - so we’re excited that this new scheme will offer us a way of connecting businesses to walkers, whilst also helping to look after the trail.”

Sally Pickles, Director of The Bowgie Inn at Crantock

“Being situated right on the South West Coast Path means many of our customers arrive on foot via the trail, so we realise how important it is to our business. We’re really pleased to support the charity in its work caring for Path, and they support us in return by directing customers our way.” 

Photo: Sally Pickles behind the bar at the Bowgie Inn.

To support the charity’s mission of supporting people’s journeys along the Path and making it accessible to all, the SWCPA has also introduced a free Way Maker package available to those that provide budget accommodation like campsites and bothies, as well as for attractions that operate as charities.

Sophie Holker who runs Silver Cottage B&B in Braunton in North Devon

“Joining as a Way Maker felt important as we love the South West Coast Path as walkers and wanted to support it.  The Way Maker scheme has helped to grow my business really well – it feels like a symbiotic relationship.  We give, but the Path and the charity give as well.”

Photo: Sophie at Silver Cottage B&B

> WATCH THE WAY MAKER VIDEO

Sarah Gunn added, “Making sure there’s enough accommodation choices that are affordable to everyone is really important. It also means we can help protect the Path’s unique habitats from wild camping, which is only permissible with the permission of the landowner.”

Aletha Mays, Marketing & Communications Manager at PK Porthcurno 

"Joining as a free Way Maker Friend is helping us to bring the visitors back in, as those using the trail love discovering more about the local heritage of this beautiful coastal valley.  In return we’re sharing information about the charity so we can support it and help the SWCPA care for the Path.” 

For local businesses wanting to find out more about joining the South West Coast Path Association as a Way Maker,  visit  https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/support-us/waymaker/

Published on: May 15, 2021