Esther Pearson on the coast at St Ives
“Having walked the path for the last 20 years, I couldn’t believe my luck when I had the great opportunity to join the small but growing South West Coast Path Association staff team.
The South West Coast Path is one of the most stunning walks in the world. 630 miles of changing scenery from the moorland start in Somerset, past the vast open stretches of north Devon beaches to the rugged cliffs of north Cornwall, sweeping around Land’s End and working back up the south Cornish coastline, through pretty fishing villages and past distant tin mines, south Devon resorts and onto the Jurassic coast, ending in Dorset.
Before children when I lived in Exeter I would travel to the North Devon and Cornwall coast to enjoy long sections of the Coast Path on wet and wild winter days, my favourite views being the dramatic and craggy coastline such as Hartland in Devon and Carnewas in Cornwall.
After children and settling in to the little village of South Milton in the South Hams we enjoy ambles along the National Trust ‘treasures’ at South Milton Sands to Hope Cove and onwards from Bolberry Down to Salcombe. I may be ever so slightly biased but the South West Coast Path is the most important asset that links everything together and makes it possible for us all to access stunning places – making life long memories. Walking along the Path everyone smiles and says hello; I like to think they too feel a freedom and happiness and are bursting to share it. Hot or cold, wet or dry but generally exhausted we love to fall in to the Beach Café at the National Trust’s South Milton Sands, perch on a bench beside other families and revive ourselves at one of Devon’s favourite eating and drinking places.
It costs roughly £1,000 for every mile of this glorious Path to keep it open, accessible and clearly signed. My boys and I will be taking part in the South West Coast Path Challenge in October to help protect the stunning coastline in the south west and be part of a new world record for the number of times the Coast Path can be covered in one month. It costs just £10 to register at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/events/challenge What will your challenge be?”
South West Coast Path Association.