Owing to erosion caused by months of almost continuous wet weather, the South West Coast Path Association is asking for donations from walkers to help it fund repairs.
The path runs around England’s southwest tip between Minehead in Somerset and Poole in Dorset, including all of Devon and Cornwall’s coastline, making it the longest of the UK’s National Trails and one of the most popular with walkers and tourists. However, continuous heavy rain has caused landslips and erosion that has led to the closure of several sections of the path for safety reasons.
A statement on the South West Coast Path website says, ‘The prolonged record breaking rainfall has made the cliffs along which much of the Coast Path runs far more unstable than normal. Over the past month we’ve had an unprecedented number of cliff falls, landslips and flood damage that have meant that we’ve had to divert many sections of the path.’
The organisation intends to realign the paths once the coastline in the affected areas has stabilised, and hopefully in time for the busy Easter holiday period, but the cost of carrying out the unprecedented level of repairs is outside anything that has been budgeted for. It has, therefore, resorted to asking walkers to undertake sponsored walks on the path to help it to raise the necessary funds.
The Association is tying in the fund raising with its Great South West Walk, which has been organised to celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming spring. The event is scheduled for April and May and will involve relay type walks of between 3 and 18 miles around the entire path that it is hoped will attract at least 50 walkers per day. With walkers encouraged to raise £50 per walk through sponsorship, it is hoped that the event will make a worthwhile contribution to the estimated £250,000 repair bill.
Full details of the event can be found at http://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/40th-anniversary.