Appeal launched for South West Coast Path
With concern building over who is going to look after one of the South West’s most valuable assets, one organisation is rallying the troops.
The South West Coast Path Association is busy organising a special event to celebrate their 40th anniversary next Spring, with the aim of funding improvement projects throughout the route of the South West Coast Path which takes in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
The South West Coast Path is estimated to generate over £300 million for the regional economy each year, with walking one of the most popular activities undertaken by visitors. Yet in recent years funding for its maintenance has shrunk.
There is now much concern over costs for on-going maintenance, let alone funding for improvements and upgrades to the path to make it more accessible, attractive to a range of users and with a surface pleasant to walk on all year round.
To raise funds for small but significant improvement projects, over and above general maintenance, the SWCPA are launching “The Great South West Walk – putting 40 years of love back into the Coast Path!” They are drafting in the help of a large number of countryside organisations including the South West Coast Path Team, the National Trust, County Councils and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Teams, along with local walking groups & numerous tourism businesses. Media partnerships have also been secured with Western Morning News, Cornwall Today and BBC Radio Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
The event next April/May aims to encourage at least 50 walkers each day across a series of sponsored walks which have been broken down into 56 legs and will be done in relay to cover the entire 630 mile path around Dorset, Devon and Cornwall (as well as the entire Exmoor coast through Somerset).
Meeting with a birthday party at Land’s End on 7th May 2013, the South coast series starts at Poole on 3rd April, with the North coast series starting at Minehead on 16th April. Each leg will be guided by local experts, rangers and path wardens, who are all assisting the SWCPA with this event.
Walkers will be asked to raise £50 of sponsorship each, so that further funding can be levered from relevant organisations via matched giving. Brian Panton, Chairman of the South West Coast Path Association explains about an extra incentive for walkers to raise as much as possible:
"We are offering walkers the opportunity to specify which project their sponsorship supports, providing there is enough funding for that project to take place (otherwise it be used for the project most in need). More information about each leg of the walk and the corresponding improvement project is on our website”.
Brian continued, “We want to encourage as many people as possible to take part for a half day or full day walk, through to a number of legs over several days, building a walking holiday. Whether people are walking long or short distances, coming from near or far, we hope that thousands of people will take part to support this spectacular coast line.”
Through individual sponsorship, grants, corporate sponsorship and matched giving, the target is to raise £250,000. This will enable over 40 improvement projects spread along the route of the entire path to be completed during 2013. These projects have all been selected to enhance the experience and enjoyment of walkers using the path.
From locals to visitors, dog walkers to family outings, hill climbers to gentle strollers – the South West Coast Path is enjoyed by many. It is used for recreation and business, is vital for the economy, whilst providing a tool for a range of charities to raise funds.
It is a unique part of our heritage and it needs help. So please get involved with the Great South West Walk and help put some love back into the Coast Path!
For more information, or to sign up to take part, please visit www.GreatSouthWestWalk.co.uk or follow the event on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath
Published on: Oct. 5, 2012