Trailblazing Magazine Issue 101

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SPRING 2020 | NO. 101 Registered charity number: 1163422

Trailblazing The magazine for South West Coast Path Association Members


EXPLORE Why walking the Path is good for our health p16

Support our new campaign p22

MAKE A DIFFERENCE Why the Coast Path is a favourite for fundraising p26

Path improvements p10


Completer stories p32 1

Image: Kynance Cove, Cornwall

For a chance to

WIN a £500

voucher for a holiday cottage break

to Cornwall in 2021:

*T&Cs apply 2



A MESSAGE FROM THE TEAM We’re writing this edition of Trailblazing whilst the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds. With such a rapidly changing situation, this message may have been superseded by events by the time your magazine pops through the letterbox. The team is now working from home to help slow the spread of the virus, and to protect them and their families. While calls may occasionally take a little longer for us to respond to, we will continue to answer all your enquiries, whether by phone or email. This pandemic has brought the importance of walking for our physical health and mental wellbeing into sharp focus. We will be doing everything we can to bring the Coast Path to people

virtually through these testing times and hope we can all get back on the Path soon. We continue to work with the wider Trails Partnership to ensure the South West Coast Path remains open and accessible, so that it can help us cope through these testing times.

cancelled. We’ll continue to champion the Coast Path through the crisis and we’re happy to talk with you about how you can support the Trail. Stay safe everyone.

The change to our daily lives from the pandemic is also impacting on the economy. We’re talking to businesses along the Coast Path that are suffering losses through the Covid-19 restrictions and will be working with our Business Members to see how the Association can help. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all those supporters who’ve had fundraising events disrupted or

L-R Vickie, Becky, Julian, Richard, Sarah, Genevieve, Debbie and Alex (and her kids!)

TRUSTEES The South West Coast Path Association is a registered charity and volunteer-led organisation governed by our Trustees: Chair: Ken Carter Vice-chair: Bob Mark

Treasurer: Mike Tithecot Secretary: Martin Davis

Graham Keene Carol Grant

Lucy Daniel Peter Scupholme

Philip Spencer

The Trustees delegate responsibility for all operational matters directly concerning the South West Coast Path to the Path Committee. Its members include Area Reps who oversee over 50 local reps, all of whom are volunteers. They walk the Path regularly, survey and report on the state of the Path and ensure our funds raised for the Path improvements are used where most needed. Area and local representatives and their sections can be found on pages 28 and 29. The rest of the Association’s work is undertaken by staff members. Led by our Director, we work to ensure the Business Plan set out by the Trustees is delivered and our volunteers are supported in their endeavours.


Call us on: 01752 896237 Design by: Tom Barnard Print by: Bamboo House Publishing

Administrator: Debbie Bakewell Communications Officer: Becky Millington Director: Julian Gray Education co-ordinator: Alex Turner

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed by authors and contributors to this magazine are not specifically endorsed by the Association. Although every care is taken to avoid mistakes, the Association does not accept liability for clerical or printing errors.

Finance Officer: Carol Cassidy Fundraising Manager: Genevieve Hinchliff Membership co-ordinator: Sarah Gunn National Trails Officer: Richard Walton Office Supervisor: Vickie Smith National Trail Administration Officer: Allan Ginman General Enquiries:

South West Coast Path Association Residence 2, Unit 11, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, PL1 3RP

Reedy Cliff, Cornwall. © Derek Fogg


This magazine has been printed using ink made from vegetable oil as a substitute for petroleum. These inks significantly reduce the amount of toxic metals and Volatile Organic Compounds released into the air during printing.



CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE SPRING 2020 I have needed to rewrite this introduction as the whole country comes to terms with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).


e are all adjusting to measures that restrict movement outside the home in an effort to combat the crisis and as an Association, we are urging people to stay home, and save lives. The team have shifted to home working and Trustees meetings moved to video conference to enable the charity to continue to work safely. These are unprecedented times and not even in the height of the Foot and Mouth disease has the country needed to come to terms with such limited access to our coast, countryside, parks and open spaces, in order to help the NHS and our population fight the spread of the virus. Our public message is for people to stay home – only visit the Coast Path as part of your allowed daily exercise and strictly follow social distancing rules. Our advice pages focus upon walking safely during the pandemic for those who live within walking distance of the Path. Like many organisations, we have needed to postpone all events and have made the decision to cancel our AGM in June. The massive economic impact affects everyone, but particularly our business members and our many partners in the tourism and service industry. We are already encouraging those with holidays booked to the south west, to postpone and not cancel their trip. This will help many small businesses and self-employed individuals that offer accommodation and other services along the Path to survive the season. We will continue to look at ways that we can support the recovery of business across the region. The storm conditions of a few months back brought the wettest February on record. We are trying to deal with the extremes of the weather brought on by climate change in a number of ways: a significant one is to assist our partners to carry out £750k of capital improvements on sections of the route that suffer most, with the Association providing £100k of funding. Trying to make the Trail more usable all year round is a challenge, but one we continue to address along with making some sections more access friendly.


Ken out on the Coast Path, looking over the Salcombe Estuary

Natural England continue the dogged delivery of the England Coast Path (ECP) coastal access. Proposals for all areas of the SWCP have now been completed and l would like to thank Steve Church, Chair of our Path Committee, for filling in numerous complex response forms for each section. His knowledge and dedication to the task has been so valuable to us and will help ensure that walkers views are considered. Turn to page 41 to read more. We would also like to extend our thanks to our Path Committee and Area Reps who have also contributed significantly to the process. I hope that you enjoy reading articles in our dedicated supporter magazine, seeing pictures of the Trail, news of management being done, and that hearing of people’s experiences when enjoying the Path will inspire you. Can l wish you all good health, stay well, and l hope some good walking this summer to aid recovery from dark times for you all.

Ken Carter Chairman of the South West Coast Path Association







Path improvements


Appalachian Gail on the SWCP What we've been up to


MAKE A DIFFERENCE Coast Path Friendly

Giving back to the Trail


PEOPLE Meet volunteer Paul Miller Path improvements




Take our survey About walking the Coast Path


Improving children's social capital One school trip at a time


Path improvements Completed & underway


Path, People and Planet Julian Gray on how it's all connected


Between the Green and the Blue Why walking the Path is good for us



Couch to Coast Connecting people actively to nature Appalchian Gail on the SWCP How we stack up to our US cousin

Every Mile Matters Help us look after the Path for future generations


Coast Path Friendly The future of sustainable events


Achieving more than you thought possible How the Coast Path is helping raise thousands for good causes


32 Completer stories




Your Reps Who they are, where they are


Social Snapshot Some of our favourite Instagram posts


Completer stories Our newest additions to Club 630


10 mins with Steve Church All the latest on the England Coast Path


Top Picks Shop and show your support



Use the hashtag #southwestcoastpath to join the conversation




The view from Royal William Yard. Photo: Visit Plymouth

Sidmouth Running Club. Photo by: Michael Ginsberg

Fundraising stars from 2019  Last year, a total of £4,100 was fundraised by wonderful  individuals and groups who went the extra mile to give back to the Trail they love. Some walked, some ran, some hosted get-togethers, whatever it was – it made a real, tangible difference to the Coast Path. Collectively, our fab fundraisers raised enough to pay for 16 fingerposts, 10 interpretation panels or over 400 oak step boards. If you’d like to follow in their footsteps, turn to page 22 to get find out how you can start to make a difference.

Leading the way SWCPA staff have been leading the way in getting workers at Royal William Yard more active during office hours. Since the start of the year, they’ve been leading a weekly walking group to encourage people in the nearby offices, to leave their desks at lunchtime and take a brisk walk. The group follow a short 1.5 mile route that takes in some of the South West Coast Path near Devil’s Point and is proving to be a great way of breaking up the sedentary nature of office work. It’s also helping to boost employee focus and productivity, whilst offering a good opportunity for staff to socialise and introduce more people to the Coast Path and the work of the Association.

Help shape the future for the Path Photo by: Benjamin Elliott

Take our walker survey For most of us, the South West Coast Path is off limits for now. So, we’d like to take this time to find out more about you and your experience on the Path. We face numerous challenges ahead with protecting and maintaining this incredible Trail, so please help inform our future work by completing a short survey. We have emailed this to all members and you can find the link on all our social channels. We’re sure that during this period of lockdown, each and every one of us will have a renewed appreciation for our beautiful natural landscapes and we look forward to returning to them! 6

Our Trustees play a really important role in making sure the charity is run in the interests of the people it is there to support. Having a diverse range of skills, experience and backgrounds is integral to ensuring the South West Coast Path is accessible and welcoming to everyone in society. We are currently looking for new Trustees to join the charity who have financial/accounting skills, and/ or experience in 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. If you, or someone you know, are interested in finding out more please contact: Julian Gray, Director or Ken Carter, Chairman on 01752 876938



The joy of walking and talking This year, our winning Coast Path Pledge came from Sarah who vowed to take her first steps on the Path, which she did the very same day she made her pledge! We were moved to hear the positive effects this was already having on Sarah and those around her. Sarah, who decided to walk with a friend said, “Our excitement even rubbed off on our husbands who decided to join us as well. What a joy to achieve a long-held dream! We talked and laughed as we took in the scenery around us. We learnt more about each other, shared experiences and advice, as well as reassuring each other that certain things come and go in life, and you are not alone in some of the trials life can throw up at you. Walking and talking allows the time and atmosphere to engage in this communion.” Sarah will be continuing her journey of the South West Coast Path thanks to a two-night break courtesy of our sponsors Devon & Cornwall Holidays. Keep up the good work Sarah, and happy walking!

Photo by: Vickie Moss

Improving children’s social capital one school trip at a time One of the latest buzzwords in education right now is ‘cultural capital’. This refers to our social assets, which help connect us to others, form opinions of what behaviour is right or wrong, inspires trust in a community and ultimately improves our quality of life. For children, one way of developing these assets is through school trips. A visit to the coast or countryside for example, can broaden a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them – teaching them the true value of our natural environment. However, less than 7% of children are actually going on these types of school trips.

Forged: Somewhere between Sitting on shelves across the country are pieces of nature; shells, stones and acorns that we find and bring home. Artist Rosie Sherwood is creating a series of sculptures entitled Forged: Somewhere between using these objects. Forged is part of a wider project called An Ever Moving Now, a multichaptered project exploring wild spaces and our connections to nature, seasons and places. Pairing photographs with bronze casts of natural objects, Forged is a memorial and a warning in the face of the climate crisis. Rosie is sourcing specimens native to the UK, hoping to gather together samples covering as wide a range of our native flora and fauna as possible. Do you have anything interesting on your shelves that you think might fit with the project? If so, please email All objects will be returned, unharmed, once cast.

This is something we want to address and we're actively seeking funding that would enable us to do more in this area. One way in which we are already helping, is by providing teachers with resources to organise school trips to the South West Coast Path at Wembury. Working in partnership with the Devon Wildlife Trust’s Wembury Marine Centre, we’ve put together a rucksack with information and activities to make organising a trip really quick and easy. One teacher said, “We loved your backpack and were very impressed with all the lovely resources.  The binoculars were great, and we had lots of fun using the sticky maps, which were a super idea.   The children also very much enjoyed the blindfolds. Thank you so much for sharing this resource with us.’’ More details can be found on our website at:




Ultramarathon runner and SWCP FKT holder Damian Hall

Record breaking runners The current record for completing all 630 miles of the SWCP stands at 10 days, 15 hours and 18 minutes. This incredible feat was achieved by ultra-runner Damian Hall back in 2016 and despite a few attempts on the fastest known time (including a sterling effort by Andy Persson last summer) – his record remains unbroken. But is that set to change? We’ve been contacted by no less than four people, all hoping to take on this monumental challenge in 2020. All the runners wish to remain anonymous at this stage, not wanting to add any unwanted pressure to their gruelling training schedule. We will however be sure to update you should any of them choose to make their challenge public, and of course, if any of them set a new record. Watch this space!

More member discounts for 2020 With a whole season of walking ahead of you, we wanted to remind you off all the wonderful places you can use your SWCPA Member’s card to get discounts. The list is getting rather long! You can also get special EAT, DRINK, STAY and DO discounts with many of our business members. Visit for the latest. • YHA • Sunday Afternoon Hats • Runderwear • Cicerone • Go Outdoors* • Cotswold Outdoor • Snow + Rock • Cycle Surgery • Runners Need *You must already hold a Go Outdoors discount card. Extra 10% offered.

SHOUT OUT TO OUR SPONSORS A special thank you to our corporate sponsors, whose support along with that of our wonderful members, makes our work possible. We are proud to be partnering with the following Coast Path loving businesses:




HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE COAST PATH? GUESS THE LOCATION Think you know your Godrevy’s from your Gribbin’s? Have a go at our ‘Guess the location’ challenge to see how well you know the Coast Path. We’ll give you a clue, this issue we have chosen three locations in the beautiful county of Cornwall.




1. Readymoney Cove, Fowey, South Cornwall by Samantha Wardman 2. A sea cave at Benoath Cove, Bossiney, North Cornwall by Andrew Jerrim 3. Shell encrusted trainers at Northcott Mouth, Bude, North Cornwall.

earch - Flowers you would find on the Coast Path SEARCH FOR FLOWERS YOU’D FIND ON THE PATH: F E E S O R M I R P L A












Although most of us can’t get out on the Coast Path right now, spring is in full swing with our favourite blooms appearing all along the whole 630 mile route. We’ve hidden 10 flowers you can find on the South West Coast Path in the word search below for you to find. Happy hunting!



Sea Thrift. Photo by George Hiles




North Devon Coastal Heritage Thanks to a £2,000 contribution we made to the North Devon Coast AONB, 12 new information points have been installed at heritage sites along the Coast Path within the Protected Landscape. This forms part of a larger project to promote conservation, appreciation and celebration of the historic landscape. Small information panels are now located at key sites along the SWCP, providing concise, image-led interpretation of the various monuments and heritage features.

Work underway at Man Sands

Rural Development Programme England (RDPE): South West Coast Path creating a year-round economic asset Following on from submission of 4 grant applications, more than £500,000 external grant support has now been secured from the RDPE to deliver projects totalling approximately £750,000. The SWCPA is contributing £100,000, with additional funding from the National Trust, Cornwall Council and Dorset Council. This is supporting 47 distinct projects and related waymarking across Exmoor, Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset.

The newly aligned Path

Carvannel Cliffs Realignment Following a cliff fall near Portreath back in November 2018, we contributed £3,405 to help realign the Path and improve infrastructure. The works were carried out thanks to the help of the National Trust and Cornwall Council, who successfully realigned the Path away from the erosion, whilst maintaining its proximity to the Coast. With the funding, they were also able to remove and replace old damaged fencing and install new kissing gates.

Don’t miss the boat For more than 100 years, there has been a seasonal foot ferry service run by local boatmen taking visitors across the Yealm, from Warren Point in Wembury to the Wide Slip in Noss Mayo. To help better inform people about ferry times and explain more about what there is to explore in the local area, we provided £1,750 to upgrade the ferry information boards. These were installed thanks to help from the South Devon AONB unit.

Work for some of these projects has already been completed e.g. new opportunities for all-terrain mobility scooter access to the Coast Path at Eype. Dorset Council have led on a project to upgrade paths, with mobility scooter hire available at Highlands End Holiday Park. Work is well underway in other locations including the creation of an alternative route for the Coast Path at Mansands Marsh in South Devon. This enables walkers to bypass a section of shingle which is inaccessible at times due to volume of water – previously involving a 1.5-mile detour inland. The improvement work has also increased biodiversity value, by creating new, additional wetland habitat.



The Yealm Estuary


West Cornwall granite steps The National Trust have been busy installing new granite steps in West Cornwall thanks to a contribution we made of £4,950. The aim was to improve walker access, whilst also being respectful to the landscape and local wildlife. Granite is a long-lasting material that is sensitive to local geology and landscape character. Sites benefitting include Letcha Cliff, Boscregan Cliff, Cribba Head, Penberth, Trevean Cliff, Bosigran, Kenidjack, Treveal Cliff.

The old gates

Little Dartmouth gates In an effort to improve accessibility at Little Dartmouth, we contributed £1,600 to buy the materials needed for two new gateways. The National Trust South Devon Coast team helped us install the new gates, which are much easier to use and are made of higher quality materials than before, meaning they will need replacing less often.

Penberth Cove. Photo by: Sue Searle

Explore South Devon Project

New interpretation panel

After securing approximately £28,000 in grant funding, we were able to fund more than 50% of a project in South Devon to create 19 new circular walks between Wembury and Berry Head. Working in partnership with the South Devon AONB, walk content has been created and published online, with 12 interpretive panels and 22 smaller signs installed at key points along the SWCP.

PATH IMPROVEMENTS: UNDERWAY Whilst high rainfall over the autumn and winter has slowed down completion for some improvements, a considerable amount of work is underway.

A more accessible Path in Weymouth In an effort to improve the route of the SWCP across Bincleaves Green in Weymouth, we have contributed £3,000 to establish a Path suitable for walkers, wheelchairs and pushchairs. The project costs £5,800 in total and will provide a robust, smooth surface suitable for walkers of all abilities.

Kynance Cove. Photo by Johnny Pateman

Tramper friendly route at Eype

Kynance Cove The SWCPA is helping to fund a long lasting, user friendly bridge for this landmark location. Work is being led by the National Trust, with other partners including the Tregothnan Estate and Natural England. A member is fundraising to support this Path improvement in memory of her husband. The bridge should be open in time for Easter.




The impact of our annual appeals New marker at Coleton Camp

View of Golden Cap. Photo by: Simon Emmett

A better way from Lyme Regis to Charmouth To address a long-standing route diversion in place between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, we have allocated £10,000 to help establish a better route for the SWCP on this section. This also links to works being funded as part of the RDPE. The current diversion is long and involves considerable road walking, however the proposed new route will create a largely off road, less steep Path, with stunning sea views of The Cob, Golden Cap and beyond. Dorset Council and the Lyme Regis Golf Club are currently working together to establish the new route.

The 2019 Step Up appeal successfully met the target to raise £10,000 towards oak step boards. Sections of Path benefiting from new steps include sites in North Cornwall, South Devon, the English Riviera and the Undercliffs National Nature Reserve.

The Find Your Way waymarking appeal has attracted more than £6,000 in donations. Priorities are being finalised in liaison with Area and Local Reps and Rangers / Wardens. The first batch ordered is for new fingerposts at several locations in West Cornwall, and also renewing the Coast Path waymarking in Minehead (with support from the Minehead Business Improvement District (BID). Both our annual appeals are open now for donations. If you would like to help us reach our target for 2020 to replace steps and way markers along the Path, please visit our website to find out more.

Moving the Path away from a crumbling cliff The iconic cliffs at West Bay have been increasingly susceptible to erosion in recent years. To help address this growing problem and ensure the safety of walkers, we have allocated £4,000 towards a new £7,000 project that will move the Coast Path further away from the cliff edge between West Bay and Freshwater. Working with Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club, an agreement has been reached to install a new fence that will see approximately 1,000m of Coast Path widened by at least 2 metres further inland. Cliff fall at West Bay. Photo by James Loveridge

Steps at St Aldhelm's Head. Photo by Alison Webber

Abbotsbury footbridge ‘Mind the Gap!’ We contributed £2,300 towards the replacement of an old, poor quality wooden footbridge at Abbotsbury. The new bridge, which cost £4,300 in total to install, is now wider and made out of long-lasting hardwood to enable walkers and runners alike to cross with ease for years to come.

Visit: what-we-do/our-projects/ to find out more about our work on the Path.




PATH, PEOPLE AND PLANET Julian Gray, South West Coast Path Director, reports on trails and sustainability.


ur Every Mile Matters campaign draws together the three foundations of sustainability: a resilient environment; healthy society; and thriving local economy - to help ensure the South West Coast Path is there for future generations to enjoy. We’re incredibly lucky in the South West to have one of the world’s great trails on our doorstep and Every Mile Matters will be used to help protect, promote and enhance the experience of the trail.

Coast Path maker at St Loy, Cornwall. Photo by Samantha Wardman

Historically, the focus of trail managers in protected landscapes is ensuring that the human impact of the trail doesn’t undermine the biodiversity or natural beauty of the area the trail runs through. While this is an important aspect of trail design and maintenance, we’re now also starting to see trail corridors being used as vehicles to help restore habitats and landscapes.

the Coast Path, with increasing frequency and severity of storms. At time of writing, we’ve had five named storms this year and the wettest February on record. We’re looking to develop a future-proofing plan with key stakeholders; this work will help us better understand the future potential impacts of climate change and how we can build resilience along the Coast Path.

As a Trail Partnership, we already ensure materials used to manage the Coast Path are sustainably sourced and promote local distinctiveness - such as granite steps in West Cornwall and local oak fingerposts in Devon. The designation of the England Coast Path is giving opportunities to improve the route of the Trail in places, giving a more coastal experience where possible. Our Coast Path Friendly scheme helps event organisers and participants pay back directly to the maintenance of the trail. We’re now looking to see how we can extend environmental improvements to the trail, including supporting sustainable transport initiatives, local beach cleans and promoting single-use plastic free communities, events and businesses.

We’re gathering more and more evidence of the health and wellbeing benefits of walking, being in greenspace and being next to water – as a coastal path we benefit from all three! Julian Glover’s review of Protected landscapes identified a number of opportunities under the umbrella of Landscapes for Everyone - where the National Trails can help address the disconnect between people, the environment, food and health. Our Couch to Coast walks are a start in helping to identify and address some of the barriers to why people don’t walk – including social isolation, lack of relevant information and transport. The National Trails, with their highquality standards of signage and accessibility, should be used as an exemplar in helping people overcome these barriers and enabling equity of

Climate change is already impacting on


access to and through our protected landscapes. The South West Coast Path is an economic driver for tourism in the South West, generating over £500 million to the local economy and supporting over 11,000 jobs. Yet, the visitor economy is impacted strongly by weather and other events – this has been compounded as now online booking makes it easier for people to make trip decisions at the last minute. The wider impact of the coronavirus outbreak is unknown at this stage. Initial feedback is that bookings across the region are currently down, although the effects of staycations or regional lockdowns could counter this. With many small and medium enterprises around the Coast Path reliant on the visitor economy, we need to ensure the trail is open and accessible all year round. Environment, society and local economy are all interlinked issues along the National Trail. Our challenge is to leverage opportunities to create a Coast Path experience which builds on the best of these three elements, to help not only create a sustainable trail, but be a beacon for sustainability.



THE VIEW This dramatic and shocking photo was captured by photographer James Loveridge recently at Hive Beach in Burton Bradstock, Dorset. Cliff falls like these are becoming more and more frequent along our beloved National Trail. Please turn to our 'Make a Difference' section on page 22 to learn about our new campaign Every Mile Matters and find out how you can help us look after the South West Coast Path now and for future generations.







BETWEEN THE GREEN AND THE BLUE We all know that walking the South West Coast Path (SWCP) makes us feel good, but ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (18th -24th May) we wanted to find out why. Lynne Wyness, academic and life coach tells us a bit more about the science behind it.


ccording to the World Health Organisation, poor mental health is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Low mood, anxiety, and stress seem an inevitable part of dealing with the demands and complexity of modern living. Or are they? Research reveals the natural world could hold the key to our mental wellbeing. For around 300,000 years, humans were genetically programmed to thrive in green spaces, but with half of us now living in towns and cities, we haven’t had time to adapt to being disconnected from nature. It wasn’t until the 1970s that psychologists proved we show an active preference for natural environments but, since then, evidence that green spaces are good for us has been stacking up. Research shows that people in hospital recover more quickly if they have a window with a view of nature, compared with those who look at a brick wall; our attention is restored by being in nature after staring at screens; physical activity outdoors gives us more energy and feelings of revitalisation than the equivalent indoors; and walking in the countryside significantly increases our sense of wellbeing and self-esteem. The south west is gifted with some of the most beautiful countryside in England and the SWCP yields a smorgasbord of nurturing green spaces to soothe our modern minds – fields, secret woodlands, open flower-speckled parkland and windy cliff tops. If something catches our eye - a fox crossing the path or morning


daisies opening to the sun - we let our minds wander and feel better for it. But anyone who has walked the Coast Path knows that it offers something even more alluring. A front-row vantage point to the ultimate blue space, the sea. According to Nicholls who wrote Blue Mind (2010), we still know very little about how being in or near water affects our brains, but researchers are becoming very interested in the positive effects that water has on our mental health. Recent studies show living close to blue spaces improves our wellbeing, and walking near water improves general and mental health. Blue spaces are restorative spaces, where we find peace, rejuvenation, and space for contemplation away from daily stress. As neuroscience catches up, we’re sure to find out what we already instinctively know - our brains are happy when they find themselves near water. Green and blue spaces, then, are good for us - physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually – and the South West Coast Path offers the perfect combination of both. Make a commitment to your mental health this spring and get out for a walk on the path, between the green and the blue. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you. For more South West Coast Path adventures, visit Lynne’s blog or follow her on Instagram @threewildsteps


Abbotsham Cliffs, North Devon. Photo by: Paul Rhodes


Looking down at Moethecombe Beach and the River Erme. Photo by Simon Courtman.

OH, WHY DO I LOVE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE?! For much of human history, according to French historian Alain Corbin, the coast was considered a necessary but dangerous place to be, awash with tales of shipwrecks and sea-monsters. But, in 1660, Dr Witte published a pamphlet Scarborough Spa, which claimed bathing and even drinking seawater could heal those suffering from ‘Hypochondriack Melancholy’. A social influencer of his time, Witte sparked the seaside revolution. Over the following 200 years, Georgians and Victorians flocked to partake in the restorative seawater or rest their troubled industrial bones on its shorelines. We have been obsessed with the coast ever since!




Couch to coas A group walking at Jennycliff, Plymouth. Photo by Liberty Pearl


hey were considered a gift to society, giving everybody the chance to find solace in the beauty of England’s natural landscapes.

Much has changed since then in the way that we live our lives, but our need for this natural form of enrichment remains unaltered. In fact, our fastpaced, tech-heavy lives mean connecting with nature matters more today than ever before. That’s why, we’ve been working in partnership with Active Devon to help people across Devon re-establish their connection with nature and tackle physical inactivity in the process.

Protected landscapes, such as our National Trails and National Parks were, in part, created to provide a healing space both mentally and physically to soldiers returning to post-war Britain.


It’s been just over a year since we launched our very first ‘Connecting Actively to Nature’ or ‘CAN’ project. Since then, we have run five successful projects in different locations across the county and have more planned this year. We’ve helped over 185 people get more active in the great outdoors, walking a combined total of over 100 miles of the South West Coast Path. Not only this, we gave people a great opportunity to socialise with people in their area, which in itself has huge benefits to our health and wellbeing. We named our project ‘Couch to Coast’, following the popular model of ‘Couch to 5k’, but instead of getting people running, we took them from sitting on the sofa to cruising along the Coast Path! These took place in Plymstock, Teignmouth, Westward Ho! Barnstaple and Torbay. To help bring each walk to life, we incorporated a range of activities such as bird watching, Nordic Walking and photography, as well as having guest speakers walk with us to explain more about local history and cultural links. We’ve been in touch with each group post—project and are delighted to hear that many are continuing to meet




The walk leaders helped me to achieve more than I've walked for some time." Learning about the Northern Burrows, Westward Ho!

A group out and about in Torquay

up and walk together and one participant has even trained to become a ‘Walking for Health’ leader and is now taking others out on walks. Here are just a few examples of what our participants had to say:

I really enjoyed the routes, the social side and all the information provided. But most of all, the incentive to get out and exercise!” The walks were brilliant! The walk leaders helped me to achieve more than I've walked for some time. Very enjoyable, positive and informative.” It was good building up from short easy walks to the final 5km. Ending with a coffee also added a good social aspect.”

The walks were very good and just the right length. They helped get us going again after not walking for a good while. And it was very social, we have made friends.” We would like to say thank you to Active Devon and Sport England, without whom these walks would not have been possible. We would also like to thank all the people who have volunteered their time to help organise Couch to Coast and to those who gave talks, tours or ran activities with us. And finally, we would like to thank all our participants who have approached each and every walk with enthusiasm and a relentlessly positive attitude (despite sometimes questionable weather!) We all have been inspired to keep walking and exploring the Coast Path.


If you are interested in joining a Couch to Coast near you, check our website Due to funding, these are currently only available in Devon, but we do hope to expand our work in the future. You can also put yourself forward as a volunteer to help us organise these activities. Volunteer roles include back marking, participant co-ordinators and photographers. For more information contact Alex Turner 19


APPALACHIAN GAIL ON THE SWCP Gail Muller, affectionately known as ‘Appalachian Gail’ completed the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail (AT) in the US last year. Now she’s back on her home turf in Cornwall to hike the South West Coast Path (SWCP). But how does it stack up?

Top image: Appalachian Trail, Franconia Ridge. Photo by Nathaniel Scrimshaw Bottom image: Boscastle Harbour. Photo by Julian Baird





’ve been walking these paths since I was born, what could possibly go wrong? Cue me careening across a windy muddy clifftop towards the edge. I should have known better in this rainy winter but having completed the 2,200 mile AT in the US over the last 6 months I figured that a 630 mile hike of the SWCP on my home turf would be easy. It wasn’t, but it was well worth the attempt!

Appalachian Gail on Bossington Beach

Cornish born and raised, I adore the Coast Path and have spent a lot of time enjoying it. So, when I arrived back from the US in late December, I decided to do the whole route, only to quickly contended with storms and terrible conditions underfoot that gave me some time indoors to compare the two long trails; each holding a huge part of my heart.  There’s lots to consider, so I’ll begin with the obvious: the AT is longer. This doesn’t necessarily mean harder, but it takes much more time to complete. Underfoot both trails are similar, with shale, rocks and mud meaning that slips and falls are regular and fatigued legs are the norm. The one thing the AT has that the SWCP doesn’t however is more protection from the elements. Whereas the rain may pour and there might be storms throughout all of the 14 states the AT covers, unless you’re up on an occasional bald or ridge line you usually have trees to keep the worst of the elements at bay. So much so that the trail is often dubbed the ‘Green Tunnel’. Conversely, on the SWCP at least one side of you is exposed to the brunt of whatever mother nature wants to throw; often glorious sunshine and incredible sea views, but for this earnest hiker it’s recently been lashing rain and strong winds. The challenges physically between the two are similar if you similarly scale the distance - the AT covers huge amounts of elevation; approximately 16 ascents of Mount Everest or 89 miles of total ups and downs, but the SWCP has itself an approximate 4 Everest ascents of gain across its 630 miles - highly comparable. If you can hack the steep climbs and elemental energy of the coastal National Trail then in my opinion you are well placed to take on the AT! On the AT, camping is allowed pretty much anywhere unless specified otherwise, but the AT Conservancy stresses that hikers should try to keep to designated or well-used sites to protect nature. ‘Leave no trace’ principles are followed religiously by most hikers and you’ll often find us picking up litter and packing it out. On the SWCP I saw a similar respect for nature; the Trail was pristine except for the immediate environs of villages and towns. Unfortunately, however, wild camping isn’t allowed on the Coast Path and can quash the feeling of freedom that comes with a long trail hike - you can’t walk until you feel tired and then set up home for the night. More strategic planning for accommodation is necessary here, making it harder to hike in winter when many of the campsites and hostels are closed. In the US the AT covers such long stretches between ‘civilisation’ that the freedom to camp is essential and the trail is set up to cope with this, but the SWCP has many amenities which mean that this isn’t as necessary (but no less desirable!).

A positive of the many coastal coves and villages along the SWCP is that it means a lighter pack and plenty of places to re-stock! No need to carry days of food at once. This also helps to solve the issue of water on the Trail too, as it was unclear where I should collect and filter water from on the SWCP; much of the stream flow comes across farming fields and therefore risks being chemically contaminated. On the AT, the trail was remote enough for stream water to be drinkable after filtering out possible beaver fever or natural pollutants. As it’s harder to find reliable streams on the Coast Path, villages along the way seemed happy to fill bottles instead. Keep an eye out for the Refill signs. Even in winter, the towns I hiked through on the SWCP were incredibly welcoming; even offering discounts for me to stay in the hotels that were open. On the AT the towns were similar, many having built strong communities around walkers and trail life. In the US they have ‘Trail Angels’ who spend time every season offering rides, places to stay, hot showers in their homes and can be found sitting at trailheads with coolers of soda, and snacks for those who come by. I haven’t seen that in on the SWCP yet, but I’ll certainly be providing some to hikers this summer!  The Appalachian Trail was a walk of a lifetime and a milestone for me, but the South West Coast Path is embedded in my heart having grown up along these wild and rugged cliffs. The history, culture and heritage that these paths are steeped in mean that the SWCP, whilst not as far in distance as the AT, is just as long in meaning, beauty and, especially this winter; a rewarding challenge.

FOLLOW GAIL ON SOCIAL MEDIA! @appalachiangail @appalachiangail @appalachiangail




A cliff fall near Loe Bar. Photo by National Trust

The South West Coast Path provides health-giving happiness to millions of people every year, it connects hundreds of coastal communities, helps the region’s economy thrive and is one of our most unique wildlife corridors.


nd in the midst of a global health crisis, the SWCP is even providing a place of solitary enjoyment for thousands of people across the region. Despite millions of people relying on access to the Coast Path, less than 1% of those who use it choose to support the Coast Path like you do, as members. And the Path’s very existence is under serious threat.

when it comes to looking after the Path. And the costs of doing so, continue to soar. Despite this, our National Trails have suffered numerous budget cuts, resulting in 30% less government funding since 2010. Climate change is already having visible effects on the world and if we don’t act now, untold damage to our region’s coastline is a future we’re all walking towards.

We’re sure many of you saw the damage caused across the south west during the first few months of this year, as storm after storm came to batter our shores. A major rock fall in Cornwall cut off access to a popular beach, a large tree came down on a section of Path in south Devon, which meant putting a diversion in place and huge cliff collapses along the Dorset coastline were sobering reminders of how delicate our beloved Path is after relentless wet weather. That’s just to name a few.

Every Mile Matters is a campaign calling for people to act now to protect this much-loved natural resource at the heart of our community. It draws together the three foundations of sustainability: a resilient environment; healthy society; and thriving local economy, to ensure the South West Coast Path is there for future generations to enjoy.

Increasingly severe storms like these, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and increased footfall are all challenges we’re facing


With your help, we want to increase the Path’s resilience against a constant onslaught of extreme weather. We want to conserve the Trail’s rich biodiversity, distinct cultural heritage and demonstrate the real, positive impact it has on people’s health



and wellbeing.  We want to make sure the South West Coast Path not only survives but thrives – benefitting everyone in society regardless of how old they are, where they come from or what their background is. But we can’t do it alone.   Anyone who has ever stepped foot on the Coast Path is part of its past and now we’re asking you to help safeguard its future. If we were to lose even one mile of the South West Coast Path, it would cease to be the Trail that we know and love today. Please, act now, because Every Mile Matters. Find out how you can get involved on the next page.

Erosion at Burton Bradstock. Photo by James Loveridge






£100,000 HOW YOU CAN HELP We’re aiming to raise £100,000 this year to fund important repair works, improve signage, upgrade damaged steps and make the Trail more accessible to everyone in society by removing stiles and resurfacing difficult terrain. We also hope to expand our community outreach work, helping marginalised groups to access and benefit from their natural surroundings.

Sidmouth Running Club present cheque to Trustee Keith Wainwright

The Path looking a little worse for wear

There are many ways you can help, from making a donation to getting out on the Path with friends, family or solo to fundraise for us. We’d also love to also hear from you about which section of the South West Coast Path matters most to you. To show your support, visit every-mile-matters

TOGETHER, OUR VOICE IS STRONGER We need your help to encourage more people to support the Coast Path. So, when you’re next out on the Path and stop for a chat, please tell walkers you meet about the work of the charity and about Every Mile Matters. With your help, we hope to increase the number of members we have and raise vital funds to care for the Trail now and in the future.




Trail runners on the Coast Path. Photo by Climb SW

COAST PATH FRIENDLY LEAVING A LIGHTER FOOTPRINT One way that we’re already trying to counter-act damage being caused to the Path by increased footfall, is through our Coast Path Friendly scheme.


vent organisers and tour providers across the south west are working with the Association and contributing £1 per participant for each of their activities on the Trail. The scheme, which only launched last year, has already attracted support from over 20 companies and charities who, together with their participants, are now creating a sustainable future for both the Trail and their activities.

Trail running event near Dartmouth.

Our scheme is part of a wider campaign by England’s National Trails collectively to encourage those that profit from the Trails to give back on a per-user basis and protect these unique and environmentally important corridors. Each organisation that signs up is provided with our Coast Path Friendly badge, so you can identify which activities taking place on the Path are giving back.


scheme. Many of these recommendations have resulted in sign-ups and ultimately in money raised for the Path we all love, so we really do appreciate this. We believe we now have a dialogue going with nearly every major event company using the South West Coast Path If we are able to overcome the coronavirus pandemic quickly enough for events due to take place this spring to be postponed until autumn (rather than cancelled all together), we are hopeful that we will raise the same amount, if not more than we did last year.

We have to say a big thank you to those ultra-diligent members who have been our eyes and ears on the Path over the last year, suggesting activity organisers we should approach to join this

If your favourite event or tour company is not one of those listed below, please do send them the details of our scheme which can be found at

In 2019 we raised £3,400 from Coast Path Friendly events and tours. This money will be allocated to maintenance projects at the next meeting of the Trail Partnership. As this pot grows, we are confident that it will go some way towards neutralising the effects mass partnership events have on the Coast Path, particularly in the wet winter months. Money raised could fund works including step refurbishment, surfacing repairs and new drainage ditches.





ACHIEVING MORE THAN YOU THOUGHT POSSIBLE HOW THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH IS HELPING RAISE THOUSANDS OF POUNDS FOR GOOD CAUSES One of the most fulfilling parts of working for the SWCPA is hearing from so many enthusiastic and dedicated people who are challenging themselves to take on all, or part, of the Trail for charity.


On Virgin Money Giving a further £15,000 was generated last year by those undertaking fundraising activities on the Trail.

We asked the folks at the leading fundraising platforms Virgin Money Giving and Just Giving, to tell us a bit more about how popular the South West Coast Path is for fundraising challenges. The results were pretty staggering! In 2019, on Just Giving alone, there were over 500 fundraising pages for Coast Path challenges, which collectively raised over £700,000 in aid of various causes.

This is just one of the reasons why we believe Every Mile Matters. The SWCP is one of the most popular, and challenging longdistance trails in the UK. Not only does the 630-mile route give enjoyment to millions of people, it also enables fundraising on an epic scale. Thousands of pounds are being generated every year for causes as diverse as homelessness, dementia, cancer,  mental health, life-boats, international development, hospices,  military, pets and wildlife, to name a few.

eople are often motivated by personal experience, so it can be very moving to read the stories that come in. Some have walked to fundraise in memory of their spouse who suffered from cancer, others have taken on a trail running marathon to support a mental health charity that helped them through depression. But wherever they go, however far they walk – each and every one of them are making a difference thanks to the South West Coast Path.







Fundraiser Carmen Rendall (left) and friends

A CAUSE IN ITS OWN RIGHT Although thousands of pounds are being raised on the South West Coast Path, sadly very few of them are going back to the Path itself. We understand that many people don’t consider a ‘place’ like the Coast Path as an obvious beneficiary of their fundraising efforts and many people have another cause close to their heart. But we’d like everyone to consider giving something back to help look after the very thing that made their fundraising possible in the first place (and so enjoyable!) In 2019, we had 10 fundraising activities taking place on the Path, raising funds for the Path. Some of the individuals and groups involved chose to also fundraise for another cause, simply by splitting the donations. Between them, these amazing people raised over £4,000 for the Coast Path, as well as helping other good causes and having a jolly good time in the process. We are incredibly grateful to all of our fundraisers and hope they will inspire others to do as they have done.

Jonny Surtees, fundraising for Centrepoint, Mental Health UK and the SWCPA: "The Coast Path has provided me with countless fond memories with close friends, family and many others, which I believe have played an unsung role in my development. This challenge is an opportunity to create more of these moments for myself and others, whilst raising vital funds for those who are currently in less fortunate positions."

HOW EASY IS IT TO FUNDRAISE FOR MORE THAN ONE CAUSE? Very easy! Using Virgin Money Giving for example, there is a very simple way to split the money raised between multiple causes. You can even specify the proportion that you want each charity to receive and the income will be paid directly into each charity’s bank account – you don’t have to do a thing!

We would like to call on you, our members to help us spread this message. We want everyone to know that there is a charity looking after the South West Coast Path and for them to consider fundraising to support it, especially if they’re already using the Path to fundraise for other charities. If you know anyone planning a fundraising walk or run this year, please ask them if they are going to be giving a proportion of their sponsorship back to the Trail. It is very possible they won’t have considered this, but please reassure them that even by allocating a small percentage of what they raise to the SWCPA, they can help ensure that the Coast Path is there to support fundraising for their favourite cause in years to come.

Fergus Anderson, fundraising for the British Heart Foundation, Brain Tumour Charity, the Army Benevolent Fund and the SWCPA: “I have fond childhood memories of walking the Path in Dorset. It is a unique and wonderful path that I look forward to exploring with my daughter as she grows up, to do that we must look after it.”







Lundy Chris Lucas

Carol Sellars

Michael Stubbs, Stephen Mills, Sue & Mike James, Beverly & Ray Tree, John Byrne

Andy Salmon, Joyce & John Edmonds

North Devon AONB

PADSTOW TO HAYLE: Margaret Bonner



Malcolm & Margaret Sykes, Greg Dolan, Sue & Pete Arnstein, Bill Henthorn, Dorothy Smith, Cate Pawluk, Jill Longden



Bodmin Moor


Pete Marshall Steve Church, Sheila Russell, Jane Grey, Heather Williams, Richard Cocking, Tessa Goodchild, Paul Miller



Truro Helston



PORTHLEVEN TO PORTLOE: Paul Rabbeth Julie Larter, John Elsey, Tessa Farthing Area Representatives (In Bold) Local Representatives (Black text) 28

Tamar Valley AONB


St Ives St Just

Cornwall AONB


PORTLOE TO CREMYLL: Jan Corber Debbie Rusbridge, Edmund Wilson, Lucy Daniel, John and Linda Barnes



PLYMOUTH TO SALCOMBE: Catharine Seidel David Pawley, Bill Lawrence, Margaret Middleton, Leo Simpson, Mark Walker Kevin Richards





North Wessex Downs

Weston-Super-Mare Mendip Bob Fisher, Isabelle Maggs, Paul & Sandra Berry, Hills Maria Grey, Jane & David Rattue

Geoff Garfield Lynton



Blackdown Hills


Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs

Dorset AONB


East Devon AONB Exeter

Sidmouth Exmouth




Quantock Hills





Lyme Regis


Martin Smith, Carole Gibbs & Roger Dyer, Gary Holpin, Keith & Sylvia Wainwright, Bob Ponchaud, David & Margaret Brocklehurst, Charles Hill, David Witham

Tino Savvas David Hinchliffe, Emily Stokes, Christopher Leigh

Christopher Leigh Dave Green, Ken Carter


Aidan Winder





Torquay South Devon AONB


ABBOTSBURY TO SOUTH HAVEN POINT: Bryn Gittins Martin Macro, Andy Straw, Jeremy Saul, Andrew Philips, Carole and Colin Austin, Martyn Buxton-Hoare


To help our Area and Local Reps look after the Coast Path, you can report any problems via the website, under Walk the Path and Report a Problem. Or you can email us at and we’ll forward on the issue to the relevant person. SOUTHWESTCOASTPATH.ORG.UK




It’s been a wild old winter on the South West Coast Path. Here are just some of the hundreds of photos people have shared with us over the past few months.

#dorset #ukgreatshots #photosofbritain #ukgreatshots

#Storm #Newlyn #Cornwall #UK


@jamesloveridge photography


West Bay, Dorset

#dartmouth #southwestcoastpath #englishcountryside #exploretocreate @ paige.dall


Yep. Gale force winds. #soulwalk #windy #galeforce

You never quite know who you are going to meet on the South West Coast Path...

#cornwall #lovecornwall #visitcornwall #cornwallcoast #cornishbeach



@ beach_rangers

Foreland Point


I’m back on the trails! Today I started the 630 mile South West Coast Path National Trail

Heading down towards Sydney Cove and then on to Praa Sands beach on the south coast of Cornwall

Trail Runner 1 - 0 Storm Dennis


@ cornishwalker1

@ trailrunner_uk


Sydney Cove





@southwestcoastpath #southwestcoastpath

@swcoastpath #SWCP


FOCUS ON: PAUL MILLER Paul Miller, Volunteer Local Rep for Perranuthnoe - Porthleven

Why did you decide to volunteer for the South West Coast Path? I was born in Falmouth and now live just a few minutes walk from the Path. As a young lad, I was always walking the Coast Path, but then I moved away for a few years. When I came back, I joined the Long Distance Walking Association and a lot of their walks were on the SWCP, before long I was spending all my spare time walking it! One day when I was out walking, I saw some National Trust rangers putting in way markers and I wondered if there were any volunteer opportunities on the Path. I got in touch with the SWCPA and soon after that I was offered the position of local rep for the section from Constantine Bay to Watergate Bay. I loved looking after that section and did so for a couple of years, but I reluctantly gave it up when a position on a section closer to home came up. I now look after the Path between Perranuthnoe to Porthleven and I absolutely love it. What is special about the section of Path you look after? Well the first thing I see when I walk down to my section is the amazing view out over to St Michael’s Mount. Then you come across places like Prussia Cove, which for me is such a lovely little spot and very Cornish; Praa Sands with its long beach and open path and then on to Rinsey Head. As you turn the corner here you see all the mineworks like Wheal Prosper, so all along this section you have nice walking and great views. My favourite thing though is the wildlife. I usually walk early in the morning at around 4/4.30am because I love the early sunrises across the bay

and the quietness. And at this time, you see all sorts of wildlife; badgers, foxes, rabbits and I’ve even seen young deer walking along the beach and onto the Coast Path. What are the biggest challenges faced on your stretch? (in terms of looking after the Path e.g. are there lots of landfalls, coastal erosion, litter etc) Landslides and erosion are some of the biggest challenges I face on my stretch. I’m sure people are familiar with photos of the enormous waves that come into Porthleven and batter the coast. You can see, if we continue to get big storms coming in like we’ve had recently, some serious damage will be done. Going back two years or so, there was a huge landslide at Loe Bar. The Coast Path had to be re-routed whilst this repaired, which added about 4km onto the route. I’m actually heading out tomorrow to finish the rest of my survey and there doesn’t seem to be anything urgent that needs attention, which is good as it means other sections of the Path that need repairing can take priority. I have to say all the volunteers, rangers and staff that help look after the Path do such a fantastic job.

walking, you can start a conversation with a complete stranger and know that you are already going to have things in common with them. Why do you think people should help protect the Coast Path? We need to protect it for future generations. I really love it when I see young families and children out walking the Path, enjoying being out in nature. I often see groups of children training for Ten Tors as well and will always make the effort to stop and chat to them. It’s just so important that the Path is here for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s for fitness, exercise, wellbeing or just for some peace and quiet. Paul regularly posts about the South West Coast Path on social media. To see photos of his travels along the Path (with his Doberman Sophie) follow @cornishwalker1 on Instagram.

What is the most fulfilling part of your role? For me it’s got to be meeting and talking to people. I’ve met people from all different walks of life whilst out walking the Path, from all over the world and I love stopping to speak to them. I often give them advice about where to walk, or things to see and do along the way and they also tell me about other trails they’ve visited. That’s what I love about





John Hartley, Canterbury My adventure started in March of last year, from the official monument in Minehead. I’d planned the trip to Padstow for 11 days, with B&B overnight stopovers at each stage. However, in this trip the daily progress was tough, through the demanding terrain of north Devon and Cornwall and in fluctuating weather conditions. Do you remember ‘the beast from the East’? Well it came at the stage from Bideford to Clovelly, a lengthy section in itself, but certainly hampered by the heavy snow! Later in the year, I continued my trek in June from Padstow to Falmouth over 13 days. My planning reflected the valuable experience of keeping the daily walking distance to a more modest level, which minimised physical tiredness and enhanced opportunities to appreciate the wonderful views. On my third trip in late September I was determined to finish the Path, which I was able to do over 21 days. I started

Marion & Robert Bryant, Eastcombe We completed the Path a few days before our 70th birthdays (born on the same day and year), Marion having been inspired by hearing of someone who had walked around the whole coast of Britain as a retirement project. We have walked what is surely the best part of that route! When we set out from Minehead in May 2009 carrying all our kit for the week we didn't really grasp what challenge, nor what a glorious route lay ahead despite having years of hiking/walking experience. We have taken 10 years amounting to 61 days walking at varying times of year from April to September, mostly in sunny, often windy weather and only on 9 occasions has it rained at all, although Mevagissey in thick fog in mid-June was


in Plymouth, to use the ferries whilst in operation and completed each of the stages to Weymouth in 12 days. I travelled back from Weymouth to Falmouth to complete the missing section from Falmouth to Plymouth. The weather during this time was variable, with a couple of days of heavy rain and very strong winds. Fortunately, I managed to catch the St Mawes ferry from Falmouth and the Place ferry without too much discomfort, but both ferries were discontinued the following day, owing to the worsening conditions. My further travel day took me back to Weymouth, to enable me to complete the final stages from Weymouth to South Haven Point. Mid-October, the weather was glorious for the remaining 3 walking days. For my preparation (for the whole trail), I used the Association’s Complete Guide, the Cicerone National Trail book and Harvey’s three maps. Each of these reference texts, I found to be invaluable in planning my route, my overnight accommodation and logistics. I have lots of fond memories of this impressive trail and my eventful expedition. I’m pleased I captured much of the coastal scenery in a digital album and kept daily notes in my manual log-books; these will be a great comfort when I’m not so active! My sincere thanks to the Association for your work in maintaining this National Trail.

memorable. We used trains to get from home to the next start point, so the sections were dictated in part by access to the railway network as well as available accommodation. The use of Luggage Transfers service from 2011 onwards made for greater enjoyment and the SWCP handbook and website were useful. We’ve met interesting people en route and stayed in memorable accommodation, mostly welcoming to weary walkers and one or two that make for entertaining stories, but not to be repeated! The flowers, especially in May and June have been stunning, including a profusion of bee orchids, honeysuckle, bluebells, primroses and squill to name a few. We found something of interest on every section: historic sites such as the tiny Culbone church, Marconi monument and Fort Henry and always to our right, the ever-changing sea with gannets, guillemots, terns and razorbills plus the skylarks singing overhead on the clifftops. We were grateful for the well-maintained steps although there were times when the only way to keep the spirits up was to keep the head down and count one by one to the top although the occasional cream tea helped. We have lots of photos and happy memories.



David Crocker, Newton Abbot and John Ostle, Ottery St Mary What a marvellous experience! An anticlockwise wander on the Path, in three annual twoweek tranches in the summers of 2017 through 2019. Staying at a range of B&Bs, pubs and hotels being greeted, in the main, by friendly, knowledgeable and helpful hosts. Our overnight bags being seamlessly moved each day by one of those specialist firms, permitted us space to carry sufficient medical supplies, walking aids and the obligatory minimum daily water rations. The final steps are more clearly remembered, mainly perhaps, because we were walking to a ferry-less South Haven Point. But there are countless amazing memories. From the awesome challenge of crossing the ten river valleys to the south of

Hartland Point - a truly arduous experience, to the sights and sounds of west country wildlife. We remember the helpful ferrymen of the Yealm and Avon, outstanding industrial archaeology around Botallack, a Chekhov play at the Minack, the myriad of defences around Plymouth Sound, crossing the Newquay Gannel, the pizzas of Penzance, and a totally naked Path walker (apart from a strategically positioned map case). By contrast, we will do our best to forget strained muscles and grumbling joints, occasional blister, intrusive ticks, our skin complaining about UV rays in the July heat, naked sun-worshipers of Studland Bay, and dreadful showers in our Weymouth hotel rooms (no names!) which took close to an hour to finally coordinate water volume with an acceptable temperature. Our deserved thanks to all volunteers and staff in maintaining this spectacular Path.

Deborah Murray, Virginia, U.S.A.

Chris Barrett, Dibden Purlieu

I started walking the Path in 2003, with five trips spread out over several years, I finally finished in September 2019. Walking the Path has been a fantastic adventure and I’ve loved (nearly) every step of it, despite—or maybe in part because of; pouring rain, getting lost repeatedly, missing the last ferry etc. All of which added to my experience and memories.

I celebrated my completion of the South West Coast path with family, friends and a glass or two of champagne on October 19th. Having approached the Path from both ends, I contrived a finish in south Devon - a place dear to my heart. I spent a very enjoyable time working there in the 1960s and it was where I met my wife, Gwen.

One of the great joys for me has been the utter freedom and escape from the trappings and demands of ordinary life. I brought only what I could fit in a day pack and didn’t have a mobile phone or laptop. I traveled alone so that I could more fully take in my surroundings (although I always enjoyed encountering and hiking with other walkers from time to time). I was both elated and saddened when I completed all 630 miles. Walking the Path has been a great joy for me, and, in the last few years, it has also been a source of solace in the face of painful personal losses. It’s difficult to imagine what other future adventure could possibly be as satisfying. The South West Coast Path is an absolute treasure. Many thanks to the Association for all your work advocating for and helping maintain the Path.

It took me 55 days over the course of two-and-half years to walk the 630 miles - mostly by myself but occasionally accompanied by my two daughters, Emma and Linda, granddaughter Caitlin and good friend Geoff Bonner. It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences of my life - the dramatic and magnificent scenery, the people I met while walking, the hospitality at places I stayed overnight, the utterly reliable services of Luggage Transfers and the information and advice from the South West Coast Path Association. But it would be remiss of me not to make a special mention of the staff at Exeter St David's Station who went way beyond the call of duty by reuniting me with my walking stick - of no monetary value but very precious to me - after I'd mislaid it while travelling by train to Cornwall.

We would like to make a special mention for Chris Barrett (see above), who sadly passed away after contracting coronavirus just as this magazine was going to print. Chris is the first member we have lost to this cruel virus and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. We would like to say a special thank you to Chris, who after completing his 630 mile journey on the Coast Path, made a generous donation of £630 to help support the Trail. SOUTHWESTCOASTPATH.ORG.UK



Vicki and Ian Cairns, Davenham

Wendy & Stuart Griggs, Bristol

We were inspired to walk the Coast Path by friends who had taken 10 years tackling the Path. We hadn’t got that long, so set ourselves a target of two years. We set off May 2017 from Minehead in what only can be described as miserable wet weather, after getting a passer-by to take the required photograph at the monument. We eventually completed the Path in August 2019 a little beyond our two-year target, but this was due to a skiing accident Vicki had.

Ten years ago, our local vicar walked the SWCP to raise money for the church. We bought his book called ‘Hobbling Along’. We read it and were hooked and started walking the Path. Every time, reading again the experience the ‘Vic’ had. We’ve finished with a huge sense of achievement, but also sadness. Only five days of horrible weather, lots of amazing memories of lovely hosts, dramatic coastline and picturesque little villages, impossible to choose the best!

We met so many people from all walks of life, one of the great things is to stop and chat. We met a man doing the whole length in one, backpacking and camping wild as he went and carrying a didgeridoo! Another had come to do half the Path, but just kept going and finished it. We also met a couple from America who we kept meeting and, in the end, struck up a friendship that has seen us meet them again to ski in Canada.

David Flatley, Rochdale

Our favourite bit is an impossible question to answer. Completing the Path and reaching the final monument gives a feeling of achievement and exhilaration; 630 miles under the belt. But then, ‘what do we do now?’ No matter how long you take over completing the Path it will become part of your life and you will miss it, so you must start to plan the next adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed the path, planning, places we stayed, and we intend to go back and spend time in places where inevitably you are just passing through on your way. If you are thinking about doing the coast path our advice is don’t think about it, get on and do it!

Clare St John-Coleman & Paul Jeggo, Chelmsford My partner and I started walking the Coast Path in 2003 after I read an article in Country Walking magazine. I shouted downstairs to Paul, 'I've found a walk I really want to do.’ His response was, 'Well book it up then!' The rest is history as for the next 8 years we covered a section completing in 2011.  Having never contemplated walking a long-distance path we set off totally naively, with heavy rucksacks, inappropriate clothing and no food or drink!  We learned quickly and were totally addicted, planning the next year's walk the day after arriving home. En route we encountered some stunning scenery, some quirky B&Bs, the changing weather from heatwave to gale, often arriving at our destination like drowned rats.  However, we both say it was the best thing we have ever done and despite the achievement of completing, it was tinged with sadness that we had done it all!


In 2001 I decided that I wanted to walk the Path in both directions. It took me from 2001 to July 2011 to walk from Minehead to Poole, and from October 2011 to July 2019 to walk from Poole to Minehead. I had walked 565 miles by September 2017, but it has taken me 2 short trips in July 2018 and now July 2019 to finish it off! I started this clockwise route from Falmouth (roughly half way) in October 2011 and so finished at Falmouth, too. It was difficult in the end as it was during that 2 weeks of 31 degrees heat! Next project, the "Big Walk " - Bristol to Southampton (incorporating the SWCP) - approx. 800 miles/ 1300 km. I estimate it will take me around 13 to 15 years to complete, by which time I will be 70! Hey ho!

(David was also joined by his partner Tracey Moss for some of his walks, who are now joint members with the Association).

Pearl Gilby & Richard Jackelman Really excited! We completed our 630 mile walk on 12 September 2019, at South Haven Point. We started walking in April 2018, when a group of seven people from our gym decided to walk from St Ives to Penzance. Richard (a bachelor) and me, Pearl (a widow) met on this walk and found that we both enjoyed walking at a similar pace. We continued to complete the rest of the walk on our own and our relationship blossomed. We completed the last 15 miles after 45 days of walking between April 2018 and Sept 2019. You can definitely say we have found love on the South West Coast Path!



Chris SchmidtReid, Winslow In July 2017, my wife and I were on top of the Golden Cap and met someone walking the SWCP carrying a fully loaded rucksack, tent, sleeping mat - the works! We chatted about it together and both agreed that we didn’t need to do that as we had done our fair share of hiking in New Zealand and Australia, when we met in the late 1980’s. Having later learnt about different luggage transfer companies, we both agreed that day packs were more the way to go! Sadly in March 2018, whilst undergoing intense treatment for cancer, my wife passed away very suddenly. Later that year as I continued to try to get my head around it all, I realised I needed to take some time away from everything, go on a journey and take some time for my heart and mind.

So, on New Year’s Eve, I decided that I was going to have a go at walking the Coast Path - and yes with my rucksack and entire camping kit! So, it was on 15th July 15th last year, that I found myself at the start of the Path in Minehead on a beautiful sunny day with my daughter, setting off on a journey - with no idea if I could walk the whole thing or what it was going to be like. I certainly had far too much kit, including a travelling acoustic guitar which I sent home after two weeks! After 64 days I arrived at South Haven Point, accompanied by my son for the last day of the walk, once again in the sunshine! I had numerous friends come to meet me and walk parts of the Path with me, as well as meeting great new people along the way too. What a wonderful path to walk dramatic cliffs, rolling hills, coves, beaches and wonderful wildlife. I made it through, and it was really the best thing I could have done. Arriving home, I now feel so much lighter and ready to move on with my life - buoyed by successfully completing this amazing walk.

Richard Lingard, Guildford

Barbara & Nigel Ellison, Tonbridge

I finally finished the Path on 17th October 2019, having walked my very first section (Pentire Point to Polzeath) as long ago as 1978. I didn't initially intend to walk the whole Path, I just did sections here and there, according to where we were holidaying, always anti-clockwise, with the sea on my right but not in any logical order, although I did start to compile a log. The last section I had to complete was from Strete Gate to Dartmouth, the Kingswear ferry  was my finishing point rather than the traditional stretch of beach leading to South Haven Point, which I walked some years ago.

On 4th September we finally reached South Haven Point. We started the walk some years ago in Minehead, as the sculpture marking the start had not yet been erected! Whilst staying with Nigel’s mother in Minehead we had day trips out walking to Porlock and then onto Lynmouth. This gave us the bug and we just had to complete the whole 630 miles. Living in Kent and family commitments meant progress was slow in the early years, but we soon clocked up the mileage more recently.

I walked most of the Path on my own, but was joined for some sections (and on the last stretch) by family and friends with whom we had a lovely celebratory meal in the Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth at which we drank a toast to my wife who had uncomplainingly provided an exemplary chauffeur service between pick up and drop off points throughout. They were quite impressed that I'd walked 630 miles, but were less impressed when I explained that over the 41 years since I started, I had averaged about 70 yards per day. It was a fantastic experience the scenery is, with very few (urban) exceptions consistently beautiful and although thousands of people walk the Path every year, for the majority of the walk, it felt almost like my own private playground. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

The highlights? Meeting like-minded people on the walk. Finally completing the Path, but this was also tinged with sadness. (No, we are not going to do it in reverse, it just wouldn’t be the same!) Woods near Clovelly, bluebells that stretched as far as the eye could see interspersed with primroses, celandine, purple orchids and white-bells all in dappled sunlight, just magical. The lowlights: Barbara walking a painful 25 miles with a leg stress fracture and not realising it at the time, ouch!! And scrambling over soaking wet rocks at the cliffs edge between Hartland Point and Crackington Haven in a howling gale. Thank you to the Association for all your hard work in establishing the Path and keeping it open, despite the best efforts of the weather to put a spanner in the works during the winter months.




Mike Pennock, Harrogate My wife Ros and I wanted to walk the coastline of Cornwall as our retirement project during 2014 & 2015, but sadly only two sections were completed before my wife became ill with Motor Neurone Disease. But I was resolved to see it through for her and added on Dorset, Devon & the Somerset coast for good measure, walking in the reverse direction from South Haven Point to Minehead. It took me 8 weeks, starting in May 2019 and finishing June 2019 What a great adventure it proved to be, every day had its interests with new horizons around every headland and valley bottoms to delve into after every hilltop. Then there was every kind of weather thrown in along the way. I used local transport, friends' cars, ferries and enjoyed staying in

various types of accommodation including youth hostels, B&Bs and at friends’ houses. My magical moment was when deciding whether to wade across Gillan Creek, which looked muddy with seaweed and then seeing two deer appear out of the trees and walk across up to their knees. So of course, I simply followed (local knowledge is a clear advantage at times like these!) It has been fulfilling and worthwhile, knowing that my wife’s ashes are now part of our tidal cycle at her favourite beaches. To date, I’ve raised £1,970 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, along with a talk and slideshow, so that further research can be undertaken. It was an awful end to my wife’s happy life that I shared with her for 57 years, since she was 13. But I will return and perhaps walk it all again, maybe this time walking anti-clockwise!

John Hall, Congleton I have just completed one of the best long-distance Paths in the world, which I started with my wife Larraine in 2006. I tackled each section of the SWCP during annual holidays, as we have walked many long-distance walks throughout the UK. But the Minehead to South Haven Point has been so varied wild, rugged and interesting, walking past industrial areas, lovely villages,

Sandy & Chris Pearce, Watchet It’s been a long and emotional journey, which started 10 years ago when we decided to walk from Exmouth to Weymouth carrying our tent, supplies etc. We caught the bug, joined the SWCPA and started our journey, snatching weekends between work until I had a setback with illness, which prevented us from doing any more for three years. Nine grandchildren have been born between the start and the finish, which has also happily taken up our time! We have celebrated birthdays and wedding anniversaries whilst walking and met some really lovely people, swapping stories and experiences.


beautiful beaches, as well as river and estuary crossings. Brilliant wildlife along the Path including peregrine falcons, choughs in north Cornwall, a roe deer crossing the Path just outside Swanage and countless sea birds. Also, meeting so many friendly fellow walkers whilst staying in some lovely B&Bs, pubs and hotels along the way. Great breakfasts, evening meals & numerous pints of local ale! Finally, a ‘Big Thank You’ to all at the Association, including the volunteers for their work maintaining the paths & signage on each of the sections.

We have walked in rain, hail, wind and hot sun and enjoyed every step. We’ve had picnics with the best views in the world in all weathers and have felt blessed to be a part of such unspoiled beauty. Too many stories to tell, but one was rescuing two ladies on the Path to Pendeen Watch where a bull had escaped its field and they were too scared to move! Getting lost in a field near Crackington Haven when the weather quickly turned, and the mist became so thick we couldn’t see a yard in front of us! Having our lunch pinched by a clever springer spaniel who swooped in from behind and took our sandwiches in mid-flight. (I can’t repeat my husband’s words!) The last walk from Swanage to Shell Bay was both sad and elating. Our youngest son Sean came with us and took lots of photos of our final walk. Our daughter Katherine and our granddaughter Arwen who is 18 months old was at the finish line waving a chequered flag. Champagne was popped and tears were never too far away. Would we do it again? In a flash!



Mary & Peter Pye, Winsham Hooray! We completed the South West Coast Path on 28th May 2019. It has taken us several years to complete as most of the time it has been one weeks walking holiday per year. In the last two years as the distance to walk became less, we spent as much

time as possible walking on the footpath to enable us to achieve our target of finishing it before Peter’s 80th birthday in July. Several days were spent filling in the missing sections. We completed our final section at Soar Mill Cove on a lovely sunny day where this picture was taken. It has been a great experience and we have met and talked to so many friendly people on the way.

Trevor Newton, Loughborough I completed walking the Path at South Haven Point on 22nd September. I started at Minehead on the in April 2018 and it has taken six visits, in April, June and September of each year, a total of 55 walking days. I used B&Bs along the route, staying for two or three nights at each, using

David & Jill Robertson, Exeter Jill and I have always loved the West Country; we went to Paignton for our honeymoon in 1977! We have always loved walking too and in 1984 made the move from north London to Exeter, which we have never regretted. Over many years we walked bits of the Coast Path and some of them many times over. In 2014 we decided to walk the bit we hadn’t done which we knew was at least 420 miles. We reckoned that it would take us about 5 years to complete and that was the case as we completed the whole path in August 2019. Having started off doing circular walks, we quickly realised

bus services where available, drop offs by owners or taxis and walking back each day. Consequently, I have walked anticlockwise and clockwise with some out of sequence sections due to various reasons. Thank you to everyone for all that you do to promote and maintain this wonderful trail, I will return and start from South Haven Point, so that I have experienced the Path in both directions.

that it would take us forever, so we started going to holiday cottages, driving to our destination and meeting a taxi there, which then took us to our starting point. That way we knew that when we arrived, tired, at the end of our walk we could get in our car and go to the nearest place for tea and cake! We are proof that the Coast Path is good for the economy of the South West. Over the 5 years we stayed in 12 holiday cottages for a week at a time, (we walked 55 miles in one week in July 2017, our best week), we stayed in 4 hotels or B&Bs and we used innumerable taxi companies, the best of which was Nigel’s taxis in Weymouth, with whom we covered Abbotsbury to Lulworth Cove. Having completed the Path we are now considering our next challenge, but it will be hard to find one which could give us the enjoyment and satisfaction that we’ve had in completing the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path.

Heatherbelle & Harry Bates, Ashburton My son Harry and I have just finished the South West Coast Path. He was 13 when we started in Poole and now is nearly 16. We have loved it. It has been a great time to talk and eat whatever we want. We particularly loved the Lizard Peninsula, east Devon and

southern Cornwall, but how can you pick a favourite place when around the headland is more wildlife, cream teas, beautiful beaches, cooling seas, amazing views, pasties, and great places to sit and reflect? There have been some tears and injuries (on my part) but a great thing to do for mum and son. The Path is wonderful, luring you on around the next point and we shall miss it. Seeing the beaches getting cleaner as we went around was also inspiring as more took to beach cleaning.




Ian Mitchell, Bishop's Stortford Sitting in a pub, my pal Mick Randall suggested we attempt the southern part of the Pennine Way. This turned out to be a bit of a disaster due to almost continuous rain, mist and wind. Months later we decided to give the South West Coast Path a try. Minehead to Bude we enjoyed immensely and later walked on to Padstow. Due to a number of life’s challenges, it wasn’t until several years later that I was setting off from Padstow, this time with friends Peter & Sue Gould (keen and experienced walkers). Apart from re-igniting my interest in the Path, walking from Padstow to Portreath gave me the confidence to walk sections alone. Walking solo presented fresh logistical challenges, e.g. bag delivery service being too expensive for one piece of kit.

Gradually I walked my way round the coast and arrived at Sennen Cove, where I was drawn by the large Atlantic breakers thrusting onto the shore. In the lee of prevailing westerlies, I encountered tranquil bays with pale green inviting waters, casting doubts in my mind as to my location. Walking from Lulworth Cove to Worth Matravers was challenging logistically and physically. The climbs were tough, but the scenery was spectacular. Compensating for that strenuous stretch of Path was my gentle amble into South Haven Point. I walked on a pristine beach, newly refreshed by a receding tide on a glorious sunny day. With a cooling breeze in my face and hard sand underfoot for once my strides felt effortless. What more could a walker ask for?

Nicola & Steve Rumming (and Gem), Tintagel

Rosemary Henley & Rosie the dog, Bexhill on Sea

95 days over nine years and 760 miles (681 SWCP miles?!) and we’ve completed the path bizarrely at the start point! Quite a journey. We’ve stayed in pubs, hotels, B&Bs, tents, our campervan, cottages, we had a mobile home at Exmouth for a couple of years and even stayed in a converted railway carriage. Our dog Gem joined us in 2015, and we also did a fair bit of geocaching and photography en route. Several birthdays and anniversaries were spent on the Path together with cake and fizz. As Somerset was our last section to complete, finishing at Minehead had to be the way to go!

Having walked much of the Dorset section of the Coast Path, and wanting a challenge, I decided that I would do the whole Path in 2019 to celebrate my 70th birthday and raise money for charity. I planned to do it in three chunks and would use our newly converted mini-campervan. My companion would be our young border collie. So, having got my head round the logistics involved, I set off from Minehead in April.

The Path has been stunning. Fantastic views and varied scenery, secluded coves, pretty villages and plenty of water (and mud!) for Gem to swim in. Sandstone, slate, granite, limestone and chalk, dramatically differing landscapes – some more challenging than others! Back in 2016 we decided on a life changing move all due to the Path. We enjoyed the Cornish coast so much that we packed in our Civil Service jobs in Bristol and moved close to Tintagel to run a couple of holiday lets, only 2 fields from the Coast Path. We haven’t looked back! The coastline here is stunning – hard work but fantastic views and fabulous beaches. So even though we have completed the path, we will continue to walk our local section on a daily basis. Thank you SWCP for an enjoyable walk and new life!


However, I found accommodation where the owner offered a bag delivery service, which was more affordable.

The walking was tough! Lots of ups and downs and some bad weather. The people and scenery made up for it though and we made it to Newquay. The second leg was easier walking, but very hot weather with little shade! I was quite jealous of the many surfers. This leg found us in Mevagissey. August saw us doing the third section heading towards Poole. We had company on some of this section, which was encouraging. This was the easiest bit, but Golden Cap loomed ahead! Finally, on my birthday on 1st September we walked from Worth Matravers to the end. So, I ‘d completed my challenge, seen some beautiful places and raised over £2,000 for charity. Now what next!?



Pamela & Andrew Burtt, Sidmouth The first time we walked the SWCP was in the ‘usual’ anti-clockwise direction. This time we did it clockwise, but we found it a lot tougher than 15 years ago. The sense of achievement was immense. Even though we were still reasonably familiar with the places and the terrain it seemed quite different doing it the ‘wrong’ way around. It was fun to return to the walks, towns and villages that gave us such happy memories before, and we were pleased to find that nearly everywhere seemed more prosperous and a little busier.

The scenery was just as astonishing as we remember it from the first time. We started during April 2018 after several weeks of periods of heavy rain and found the going very tough. In many places the path was surrounded on both sides by dense shrubs and we were forced to wade through some serious mud, which spoiled the enjoyment somewhat and drained our energy. It wasn't long, though, before the mud started to dry and the walking became a real pleasure. We are very happy to have been members of the SWCP Association since 2007. The documentation it produces, and its achievements are appreciated by many. Thank you.

Christine Moore and Neil Purchase, Bristol Walking the SWCP was top of Christine’s ‘to do’ list on her 50th birthday. Once we had both retired, we set about planning the walk. During our great adventure we visited some beautiful places, staying in some fantastic cottages, B&Bs and even a converted pigsty! We used public transport to get us to the start of the walk, easier said than done in some of the remote areas. (Our thanks to those who operate the community buses). Most of the time we were lucky with the weather although we can still feel how cold we were on a particularly bleak, wet, and windy walk around Boscastle in May. The Trail is a well-marked path, no need for maps and compasses most of the time, just keep walking and focus on the scenery or the next step! Soon you come across beautiful spots,

which otherwise you wouldn’t get to see. That is the time to sit down, enjoy a picnic lunch, appreciate being outside in the fresh air and take in the coastline, the vast skies and many moods and colours of the sea. The walk was physically challenging at times. We always started the “severe” graded walks with some trepidation, but these were usually the most rewarding with stunning scenery and the satisfaction of completing the walk. Whilst we were delighted to complete our last walk, Porthcurno to Lamorna Cove, in common with others there was a sense of sadness our adventure was over! However, we look forward to revisiting our favourite bits. Many thanks to everyone involved in maintaining the Path, the website, and guides enabling all of us to enjoy the wonderful coastline. It has been a fabulous life experience we will always remember.

Christine Bailey & Trevor Humbey, York We walked 630 miles over 15 years in nine separate holidays totalling 11 weeks, and stayed in 76 different B&Bs, hotels/hostels, and once with a friend. We always chose September and were usually blessed with warm sunshine, counting less than ten rainy days across the entire length of the Path. We were never in a rush. Each trip we factored in time to explore sites of historical interest or beauty at our leisure. We’re not the fittest or fastest walkers; we like to try out the benches, talk to other walkers and hear their stories, take lots of photos and peer through binoculars at the glorious landscapes. For all these reasons it has sometimes taken us up to twice as long to complete a day’s walk as the suggested timings in the Guide. But we always got to our destination!

Being railway enthusiasts we made the most of many transport highlights: arriving in the South West via the Paddington to Penzance sleeper train on several occasions, using the peninsula’s branch lines to start or finish our sections, and visiting all the heritage railways, tramways and funiculars on or near the Path. From South Haven Point we travelled home via the delightful Swanage Railway, and from Minehead we started our journey home on the West Somerset Railway. We are of course extremely grateful to the Association for providing such excellent information, helping create a community spirit amongst walkers and keeping the Path in such good condition (on the occasions when we had to leave the Path to find our accommodation we noticed an immediate drop in the quality of the footpaths and their signposting).




Patti & Phil Greet, Tiptoe, New Forest We’d been looking for a while for a challenge we could undertake that was not too far away from where we lived.  We had done a number of walks in the local area as well as overseas when one of our friends said they were walking parts of the South West Coast Path and why didn't we? Initially we imagined walking on a promenade all the way around the south west of England. How wrong could we have been! We started in 2007 with just day walks around Portland Island dragging our ageing lassie collies with us.  Unfortunately, work and other life priorities then intervened, and it was 2013 before we picked up the challenge again, completing the Poole to Swanage section which again we could do with a day trip from home.  Then further delays until 2015 when with both of us fully retired we decided to go for it. We resumed again, walking Swanage to Weymouth before deciding to do it the way the guidebook set out.  So, September 2015 we set out from Minehead on the first of many trips to complete the Path. Initially we walked for 3 days before returning home, but soon the time taken to travel down and back again made it more sensible to do longer stretches so we completed the walk doing 2 trips a year of around a week each until finally completing the path in October 2019. That was not to say we didn't have 'days off'. On each section we tried to visit a nearby landmark with trips to Lundy Island, Saint Michaels Mount, the Minack Theatre and Burgh Island being particular highlights. We shall never forget the stunning scenery, the clear turquoise waters, the wild flowers and wildlife, the little ferry crossings across the estuaries of the south sections and of course meeting other walkers of many nationalities with whom we could share experiences, often over a drink in a local pub!  We will sorely miss our annual adventures around the Path and wonder whether anything else will ever match it. Our grateful thanks to the many volunteers and staff of the Association, the baggage transfer companies and to the B&B owners of the many wonderful places we stayed in.  Without all of this we would not have been able to enjoy such a wonderful experience.

Patrick Wyatt, Exmouth I’ve always been drawn to walking coastal paths and when I moved to Bude in 2014, aged 73 and recently bereaved, I found a path passing my front door and began to explore it. It was only after several months that I discovered it was part of the South West Coast Path. I also found that the section from Bude to Crackington Haven was 10 miles long and graded ‘strenuous’, but I persevered and eventually completed it in 4 days, walking each section there and back to my car. I couldn’t imagine then, how it would ever be possible to walk the whole 630 miles of the Path, but I kept trying some of the shorter sections and used buses and the occasional taxi to enable me to walk in one direction only. I slowly built up my stamina and endurance and by the end of 2015 I had walked 143 miles from Woolacombe to Newquay Harbour, all in day trips from Bude. In 2016 I moved to Exmouth, where I could also see the Path from my flat and completed a further 78 miles from Dartmouth to West Bay. In 2017, I only achieved a further 10 miles from Torcross to Dartmouth because the walks were too far from home to do in day trips. So, in 2018 I started to use walking companies to book accommodation with luggage transfer and added a further 215 miles from Minehead to Woolacombe and from Newquay round to Gorran Haven. This year I completed the remaining 184 miles from Gorran Haven to Torcross and from West Bay to South Haven Point. It took 68 days walking over 4.5 years to complete the whole path and I am now 77 and much fitter than when I started. On 14 of 68 days I was joined by various family members, including my sister, niece, daughters and grandchildren. Walking the SWCP has been a wonderful experience for me. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, meeting other walkers at various stages in their journey. The planning and logistics, which was sometimes more difficult than the walking. And I enjoyed learning about all the coastal towns and villages in Cornwall and Devon where I now live. For all that, my thanks go to the Association for maintaining the path in such good condition in spite of the many challenges presented by the forces of nature.

OTHER COMPLETERS... Kevin Thomas, Westcliff On Sea

Trevor Hopkins, Bracknell

Philip Lenton, Prescot

John Marrison, Sheffield

Steve Otterway, Bagshot

Jeff Tomkins, Derby

Keith Reynolds, Doune, Scotland

Jane Fry, Wiveliscombe

Steve Clarke, Broadstone

Sue Berry, Newick

Vanessa Hayden & Rosemary Lugg, Taunton

Erica Simpson, Bodmin 40



10 MINUTES WITH… Steve Church, on the new England Coast Path The England Coast Path (ECP) is a new National Trail, which will follow the entire coastline of England. When complete, the route will total 2,795 miles in length and become the longest waymarked coastal path in the world. This new access builds on the success of the 630 mile South West Coast Path (SWCP) which will continue as a distinct National Trail; and one of the longest (and in our opinion) best parts of the ECP. We caught up with Steve Church, Chair of the SWCPA Path Committee to find out how the Association has been involved with the development of the new route and to ask about any changes this will have to the SWCP. How has the SWCPA been involved with the creation of the ECP? The job of establishing the ECP rests with the Government’s countryside agency Natural England (NE). In the south west, NE have sub-divided the coast into separate lengths, which they call ‘stretches’. For each stretch, NE have had detailed discussions with the Association, which has meant that the Association has been able to inform NE of its long-standing hopes for improvement to the SWCP on that stretch. In addition, the relevant SWCPA Local and Area Reps for that stretch have been able to give NE the benefit of their local knowledge and the National Trail Officer, Richard Walton, has let NE have his views. When is it likely to be completed? Some lengths of the ECP have already been established. In the south west, the stretch between Portland and Lulworth Cove in Dorset was prioritised and completed in 2012 in time for the sailing events of the London Olympics, which took place at Weymouth. NE is committed to producing its proposals for the whole of the coastline by 2020, and in the south west proposals have been published for most of the remaining stretches.

The procedure then is that the Secretary of State for the Environment considers NE’s proposals for each stretch together with any objections that have been made (only affected landowners may make objections) and any representations, which will include those made by the Association. At the beginning of 2020 the Secretary of State issued formal approval for a number of lengths in Cornwall (Newquay-St Agnes, St IvesLand’s End, St Mawes-Nare Head and Dodman Point-Cremyll). It is hoped there will be a final decision on all the remaining stretches by the end of 2020, and NE are tentatively proposing to have a formal launch of the entire project during this year. Once a stretch has received formal approval, funding can be released to undertake works to establish the route on the ground. Because of these uncertainties, it is currently unknown when the route will be physically complete, but our hope would be that the ECP in the south west will be completed by the end of 2021. Will the ECP follow the same route as the SWCP in the south west? Generally, yes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the ECP will follow the current line of the SWCP. Where NE proposes a route for the ECP which differs from that of the current SWCP then the SWCP will divert onto the route of the ECP. However, the Association is aware that on occasions NE’s formal criteria could result in a route for the ECP which would be inferior to that of the SWCP. To address this issue, the Association has adopted a policy whereby it may wish to promote a route for the SWCP which differs from that of the ECP in certain limited circumstances.


Will creating the ECP enable any improvements to be made to the SWCP? Yes it will. We’re pleased to see that many of our suggestions for improvements have been included in NE’s proposals for the ECP, which the SWCP will generally coincide with. As well as a number of relatively minor improvements, more significant ones should also be achieved, if approval is given to these proposals, on the east side of the Lizard in Cornwall, between Millendreath and Seaton also in Cornwall and at Stoke Fleming in south Devon. Currently at all of these locations there are inland alignments which the ECP will substantially address. Will there be any changes to waymarking or to the name of the SWCP? SWCP walkers will be familiar with the acorn waymark. The acorn is the symbol of all National Trails, and as the ECP will also be designated as a National Trail there will be no change to the waymarking symbol. It will still be a case of “follow the acorn”. Also, although part of the ECP, the SWCP will retain its own identity. This means that the SWCP name will remain for all literature and signing will continue to refer to “South West Coast Path” or just “Coast Path”. Generally, only where the ECP differs from the SWCP (see my answer to Question 3) will there be mention of “England Coast Path” on signing. To read more about the England Coast Path and SWCPA’s involvement, please visit the news section of our website and read the full interview with Steve. You can also find more information about all aspects of the ECP on the Government website: englandcoastpath




As non-essential travel is not possible at the moment, this is a great time to plan for when we can get back out and enjoy longer adventures on the Path. Our online shop has a wide selection of guides, books and maps, clothing and gifts to help you on your journeys. For this edition of Trailblazing we have compiled some very special offers, just for members. Show your support for the Path by visiting: to place your order or call us on 01752 896237. Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our main office phone 01752 896237 is only being monitored until 2pm at the moment.

A-Z ADVENTURE MAPS £9.50 each or £45.00 for a full set These maps are the perfect companion for those who love to get out on the Coast Path, the A-Z Adventure Series features OS 1:25000 mapping in a really handy book. The full collection includes: 1. North Devon & Somerset, 2. North Cornwall, 3. South Cornwall, 4. South Devon, 5. Dorset

We are now offering members 20% off the full set of these maps. Visit our online shop, add the ‘A-Z Full set of 5 Adventure maps’ product to your basket and enter the discount code AZMAP at checkout in order for the 20% to be applied. Offer ends 01/07/2020 (Maximum of 1 set of maps per offer)

T-SHIRT Available in white or navy - £15.99 It is an amazing achievement to have conquered any part of the South West Coast Path. Why not show off your achievement or encourage someone on their journey by snapping up one of our brilliant new ‘tour’ style t-shirts. These t-shirts are 100% cotton in a choice of white or navy. Sizing and measurements can be found on our online shop.

We are now offering members these t-shirts for a special introductory price of £12.99 using discount code TEE at the checkout of our online shop. Offer ends – 05/06/2020 (Maximum of 3 t-shirts per offer)




WALKING GUIDES - £2.00 Our walking guides are a really useful addition whilst out on the Coast Path, including detailed walking directions, maps and photos, as well as offering interesting facts,history, wildlife and geological information.

We are now offering members the change to buy 3 guides or more and get 20% off – Use discount code WALK at the checkout on our online shop. Offer ends – 01/07/2020

COMPLETION CERTIFICATES - £6.50 Why not commemorate your time on the Path with an official Completion certificate. We have these available for the whole 630 mile route as well as certificates for the Cornwall, South Devon, North Devon or Jurassic Coast sections. All certificates come with a pin badge. Members of the South West Coast Path Association receive the Completion certificate FREE of charge. Call us for more information or visit become-a-member

SMALL FINGER POST - £12.00 These miniature finger posts are a wonderful gift for any Coast Path enthusiast. This solid oak post details the iconic National trail acorn and the wording 'Minehead - Poole 630 miles'. Measurements: 255mm x 50mm x 25mm.

COVID-19 UPDATE Our online shop continues to stay open as the fulfillment of it is undertaken by an independent carrier company. We are taking a steer from them regarding the operation of their warehouse. They are currently still operating as they have clients that put them in the key worker category. They have changed several of their working practices to ensure that their staff are safe and working to the UK Guidelines for Covid-19. All proceeds from our shop go towards our vital work along the South West Coast Path. Thank you for your continued support.

Remember, it costs as little as £26.50 per year to become a member of the Association and you will receive the latest edition of the Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path absolutely FREE. Visit or contact us on or 01752 896237 for more information. Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our main office phone 01752 896237 is only being monitored until 2pm at the moment.



COVID-19 ADVICE: To reduce the possible spread of coronavirus, please consider leaving this mailing for 48 hours or handling it with gloves.

It costs approximately ÂŁ1,400 to look after a mile of the South West Coast Path every year. Donate or pledge to fundraise this amount in 2020 and become a Mile Maker. Visit mile-maker for more info.

Marine Drive, Woolacombe. Photo by Shaun Selley