Meet our volunteers
Jane Rattue, Barnstaple, Devon
My work for the SWCP: With my husband I survey the Coast Path from Lynmouth to Combe Martin as a Local Rep. There is a glorious wildness with steep paths, open moorland and awe-inspiring views. I am also one of the Run Directors for Woolacombe Dunes Parkrun. Early on a Saturday morning we assemble to set up the equipment and check that the Devon Ruby Red cows aren't actually blocking the path! I also volunteer with the Association’s Couch to Coast programme - a series of walks from Ilfracombe, helping to introduce walkers to the beauty and benefits of the Coast Path.
Why I volunteer: Having completed the South West Coast path over several years with my husband, I wanted to volunteer to help preserve this fabulous trail and encourage others to experience the wildness and the beauty of the path. We have had conversations along the Path with walkers from many different countries who are so impressed by our access to this coastline.
What my volunteering work entails: Between year's end and March we undertake a survey of the path, checking that they are still safe and accessible, that the gates close well to keep stock secure and that the signage is easily readable and points walkers along the trail. During the summer we visit the path again as what can be a pleasant grassy path in the height of summer can become a boggy marsh in the depths of winter and likewise can be covered shoulder-height in bracken by early summer sometimes covering any signposts completely! Sometimes we carry out minor jobs along the way and our 'kit' now includes a saw for removing fallen branches, garden gloves and secateurs to remove debris and twine for emergency gate closures, yellow paint for refreshing signs and of course refreshments to sustain us for the walk! We split our patch into 2 days of surveying as the condition of both the path and any 'furniture' i.e. gates, seats, fences, signs takes longer to record on a tablet than just walking. We are indeed the eyes and ears out on the path for the Association and the Wardens, taking photos of any issues so that the wardens and rangers can assess what needs attention.
My #TrailTribute: I would like to thank the Coast Path for all the experiences I have had along the way whether a bracing winter walk to blow away the cobwebs or a summer picnic by a woodland stream on a sunny day when the birds are in full song. My go to 'Happy Place'.
Tino Savvas, Torquay, Devon
My work for the SWCP: I am Area Rep for the whole stretch from the Dart to Exe, and a member of the Devon Countryside Access Forum.
Why I volunteer: National Trails, and particularly the South West Coast Path are huge assets to the United Kingdom and we are so lucky to have them. They are enjoyed by millions of people and it is important that we attract even more people to make use of them, both for their own wellbeing and the future of our Trails. It is also important to me because I so much enjoy being involved, visiting such great places and meeting so many very pleasant and interesting people, both inside South West Coast Path and Devon Countryside Access Forum and externally.
What my volunteering work entails: As an Area Rep, I am a member of the Path Committee which is responsible for managing the review of the condition of the Path and recommending improvements, through the local maintenance providers. I coordinate the activities of four Local Reps for my area who are responsible for carrying out the annual condition audit of the Path, and the recommendation of improvements in the Path itself or signage, or other items of furniture. In addition, we become involved in local initiatives to encourage people to take more exercise through walking and we have been involved with developing Easy Access Walks for people with limited mobility. It is important that the South West Coast Path should be accessible for everyone to enjoy wherever possible.
My #TrailTribute: Thank you so much for giving me and so many other people so much fun and pleasure. And you always look in such great shape. You are an inspiration to us all!
Eve Bampton-Wilton, Exeter, Devon
My work for the SWCP: I am a volunteer Trustee and blog about my own SWCP-journey.
Why I volunteer: I think the National Trail is a wonderful example of (free) treasure truly on our doorstep, I feel it's really important to support people getting out and appreciating the beauty on their doorstep, and looking after it so people in the future can enjoy it as well!
What my volunteering work entails: I currently support the Association from a health and wellbeing perspective, advising on things related to mental health and developing relationships between the Association and other local organisations. Through my blog 'Simply Anxious Adventures', I am documenting my adventures around the Coast Path with my best friends, hope to empower other younger women, and those who struggle with their mental health, to get out walking more.
My #TrailTribute: If the SWCP was a person, I would thank it for helping me on my journey back from serious illness, to regain my strength and stamina, for helping to show me I can do things I thought I would never be able to again for a time. I would thank it for testing my body, but giving my brain a much-needed rest, and for helping me find a new sense of curiosity and adventure, and inspiring people to do the same.
Kevin Richards, Plymouth, Devon
My work for the SWCP: I am Local Rep for Jennycliff to Wembury in South Devon and also volunteer for the Youth Hostels Association. I also run with the community running club Plymouth Coastal Runners that fundraises for the Association.
Why I volunteer: From a boy to now I have benefited from the rich environment that I live in. The coast has been my place to escape to for my sanity as well as enjoy with friends and family. In 2019 I ran the full Coast Path from Minehead to Poole! It is only fitting for me to give back to life around me that has given me so much.
What my volunteering work entails: I am involved with the yearly survey of part of the Path that I cover, which is just brilliant. The task is straight forward with checks around signs and other furniture that serve the Path. Any issues found are re-laid to the correct authority to rectify.
My #TrailTribute: Thank you Path, you have been my companion, my friend and my peace of mind.