Funding secured for Plymouth route improvement

A stairway to the foodie heaven of the Royal William Yard in Plymouth will be built as part of an exciting project to fill in the missing link on the South West Coast Path thanks to a grant of £237,000 by Natural England.

Aerial view of Royal William Yard and Devil's Point Park

The project will involve constructing a stairway into the yard through the existing defensive wall, linking Devil’s Point to the yard and giving walkers on this popular section of the South West Coast Path a connection all the way around the Stonehouse peninsula.  

Not only would it enable coast path walkers to enjoy the stunning views, it would make the most of two outstanding natural and historical assets, the park and yard. 

Planning permission and listed building consent for the stairway has been secured and the work will be completed Spring 2013. 

Graham Bryant, Natural England's Partnership Manager for the South West Coast Path said: "Royal William Yard and Devil’s Point are both fantastic assets for Plymouth and we’re delighted to be able to help create a link for people to enjoy these amazing locations on the fantastic South West Coast Path. As well as providing world-class access to world-class scenery, national trails support the local businesses that maintain them and attract visitors to the area.

"Devil’s Point is a remarkable little park, steeped in local history and a natural gem in its own right. It is home to protected species, right on the shore of the European Marine Site of Plymouth Sound and divers regularly enjoy the marine life in up to 40 feet of water just yards from the shore.

The South West Coast Path Association have for many years sought to have the Coast Path routed through the park and the Royal William Yard, and the idea of a staircase was formulated about a decade ago at a meeting of their then Secretary Eric Wallis and local planners who were considering options for the redevelopment of the Yard. Following Eric's death in 2010, to commemorate his 25 years of service to the Association, an Eric Wallis Memorial Fund was established and the £10,000 this raised is being put towards this project. 

Local Councillor Brian Vincent said: "This is something the community around here have wanted for a long time. It will open up a less used part of Devil’s Point and will also make the walk along the coast path even more attractive for our many visitors.

"The project fits so many of our priorities – it encourages people to walk, it will be good for visitors enjoying the incredible coast path, it is another way into the Royal William Yard, which is good for local business and it’s been designed to be in keeping with its beautiful surroundings.

Nathan Cornish from Urban Splash, the developers of the Yard said: "The staircase link has long been part of our vision and ambition at Royal William Yard so we're delighted that it is progressing. We are fully behind any initiative that encourages more people to use these unique and historic spaces."

Richard Crocker, Chairman of the Friends of Devil’s Point Park added: "This is great news and something we’ve been pushing for  here for a long time. We had several setbacks in getting funding for this project but we persisted until we succeeded. Its a superb example of an environmental improvement creating economic benefits so we are delighted by Natural England's support.”

Whilst the staircase is the key component, further work is proposed to enhance the new Coast Path through the park and the Royal William Yard. The Friends of Devil's Point and the SW Coast Path Association are undertaking more fundraising towards these, and one way walkers can get involved is by joining the Great South West Walk.  

Published on: Nov. 8, 2012