Monday, October 15, 2012
Effort under way to fund improvements to coast path.
THE South West Coast Path Association is rallying the troops for a special event to help fund improvements to the path and to celebrate the association’s 40th anniversary next spring.
With concern about who is going to look after one of the South West’s most valuable assets, the association is organising a series of fund and profile raising walks next April and May.
There is much concern over costs for ongoing maintenance, let alone funding for improvements and upgrades to the path, to make it more accessible and attractive to users.
To raise funds, the association is launching The Great South West Walk – putting 40 years of love back into the Coast Path.”
It is drafting the help of countryside organisations, including the South West Coast Path team, the National Trust, county councils and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty teams, with local walking groups and tourism businesses.
The event aims to encourage at least 30 walkers each day for a series of sponsored walks that 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 and the entire Exmoor coast through Somerset.
The south coast series starts at Poole on April 3, with the north coast series starting at Minehead on April 16. Each leg will be guided by local experts, rangers and path wardens.
Walkers will be asked to raise £50 in sponsorship each, so that further funding can be levered from relevant organisations via matched giving.
The target is to raise £250,000. This will enable more than 40 improvement projects along the path to be completed during 2013.
The South West Coast Path is estimated to generate more than £300 million for the regional economy each year, with walking one of the most popular activities. Yet in recent years funding for its maintenance has shrunk.
For more information, or to sign up to take part, visit www.GreatSouthWestWalk.co.uk or follow the event on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath