Volunteer

Volunteers have always been at the heart of the Association and a driving force behind our success. We’re so grateful to the incredible people who give their time and passion to make the South West Coast Path one of the greatest walks in the world.

Thinking of volunteering?

We always welcome new volunteers and are interested in a wide range of skills and expertise. If you have time to spare - from a few hours to a few days or more, we would love to hear from you.

We have a range of volunteering opportunities available including:

  • joining our dedicated team of Local and Area Reps, who walk the Path regularly to make sure it’s in tip top shape;
  • supporting the HQ team helping run our operations; and
  • becoming a Trustee with oversight of the charity’s governance.

Local and Area Reps

The 630 miles of the Coast Path has been divided into a number of sections each headed up by an Area Rep who sit on the Path Committee and coordinate a team of Local Reps. Each year a conditions survey of the Trail is undertaken by the reps, coordinated by the National Trails Officer.

HQ Volunteers

The HQ team coordinates improvement works along the Trail. We run campaigns and events that help raise money and awareness. We also organise projects that support young people through education and engage with coastal communities to improve people’s health and wellbeing. Each and every project brings with it a range of work we need help with, and your support can help make such work possible.

Project volunteers

In 2019, we began our Couch to Coast project in which we are encouraging inactive people aged over 55 into getting more active with delivering a series of short walks on the Coast Path.

Roles might include; peer support to individuals during walks, back-marking, completing reconnaissance walks, and supporting the walking programme. Full training and support will be given.

Please do get in touch to discuss further: [email protected] 

Trustees

We’re seeking new Trustees to help strengthen our work and reputation. As a well-established Charity with over 7,000 individual and business members we work in partnership with national government, local councils and agencies like the National Trust to promote the 630-mile trail, and to enhance and conserve it for future generations.

Our Board of Trustees meets quarterly in our offices at the newly renovated and historic Royal William Yard on the coast path in Plymouth. We have committees on finance & HR, membership & fundraising and Path matters to help support the team. We meet elsewhere in the South West and make wide use of telephone and videoconferencing.

We are currently looking for someone with financial/accounting skills, and/or experience of the health and wellbeing sector. We are committed to improving the diversity of our Board and particularly welcome applications from women, those in the BAME community and people with disabilities. This is an exciting and challenging opportunity for you to help sustain the work of our charity to share the benefits of the South West Coast Path.

You can download a copy of our Trustee Prospectus to find more detail about who we are looking for and the responsibilities of being a Trustee. You can also download a copy of our application form.

If you would like to talk informally about how the Board works or ask any questions, please contact our Chair, Ken Carter at [email protected]

What do volunteers our volunteers say?

Tino Savvas, Area Rep for Kingswear to Topsham

“Like many others involved with South West Coast Path, when I fully retired three years ago, I had more time to spend on great activities like walking and had time and skills that I hoped would be useful to the Association. I knew that I would very much miss the day to day interaction with people, which I had enjoyed for many years throughout my career and this again gave me the opportunity to work with some interesting and committed people.

I am lucky because I have a group of excellent, active and very capable Local Reps who do most of the work on a day to day basis. Walking with them and chatting about the Path and our roles is great fun. Also, it is good to overcome the normal British reserve and chat with the many walkers we meet along the Path and promote the Path and benefits of membership to the Association. As we know, walkers are a friendly and happy community.”

Geoff Garfield, Area Rep for Minehead to Bideford

"Volunteering with the Association gives me two big benefits: meeting & working with different people, and the chance to make a difference for users of the Path. Walking the Path regularly, I have met all sorts of interesting people, from around the UK, Europe, and North America; ranging from a wildly enthusiastic 11-year-old on his first long distance walk, to a Japanese professor. Then I have the chance to walk with the other Local Reps in my area, so we can look at ways to deal with problems or make improvements. I also meet with the different Path managers, mainly National Trust or Exmoor National Park rangers, who do the actual work of clearing fallen trees or repairing signposts, and then there is the great team down at the SWCPA Office.”

Get in touch

To find out more about our current volunteering opportunities, or to add your name to our waiting list, please email [email protected] and tell us a bit more about yourself and what type of work you’d be interested in doing. Be sure to let us know if you have any specialist skills such as photography, illustration, graphic design, events management or knowledge on any of the following topics, as we may have a specific project you’re able to help out with.

Environment: ecology, wildlife, nature, conservation, geology, coastal erosion, climate change

Health & wellbeing: physical activity, fitness, mental health, mindfulness, rehabilitation