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The South West Coast Path Association awarded £220k grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Today, the South West Coast Path Association has received a £220,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an exciting new Coast Path Connectors project that will open up coastal walking to a range of new audiences. 

The project will help improve equity of access along the world-class trail going around the South West peninsula. The South West Coast Path Association will support local people to make use of the 630-mile National Trail for health and wellbeing through a network of new volunteers.

The Coast Path Connectors project will consist of five hubs along the trail in West Cornwall, Plymouth, SE and North Devon, and Dorset and will target the areas of highest deprivation. Trained Coast Path volunteer rangers will act as walk leaders, points of contact and advocates for the Coast Path in their local communities. The project will focus on young people and people with wellbeing and mental health needs. The volunteer rangers will also show people the heritage and nature in their local area, sparking an interest which will make people feel more confident about returning and engaging with nature on future visits.

The charity will expand on existing partnership work by collaborating with organisations that already have connections with local communities. Many of these organisations have offered to provide advice, guidance, and training to assist the work and help the project successfully recognise barriers to participation and support people with long-term health conditions to use the Coast Path as a life-long benefit.

Lorna Sherriff, South West Coast Path National Trail Officer, said 

“We are delighted to have received this support from the National Lottery players. Almost 50 years ago volunteers set up the charity to create the South West Coast Path and over 100 active volunteers remain at the heart of protecting and promoting this world-class trail. The Coast Path Connectors project will allow us to expand our volunteer capacity to better engage with local communities and ensure more people will be able to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature by using our beautiful Coast Path.”

Stuart McLeod, Director England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said

“Health and wellbeing is such an important part of our everyday lives, even more so since the pandemic, and the benefits have been widely championed. Thanks to National Lottery players, this fantastic project will not only connect more people to the beautiful landscape of the South West Coast Path but also engage with some of the most deprived communities. At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re incredibly proud to play a role in ensuring our natural heritage is safeguarded for generations to come, but also that the projects we fund give people the chance to connect with the nature and wildlife that is on their doorstep.”

Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Aletha Mays (Head of Comms) at South West Coast Path Association on Telephone: 07915 074076 or Email: [email protected]

Published on: July 4, 2022