Coast Path Challenge draws to a close as final walk gets going in Swanage

Old Harry Rocks at Sunrise. Photographer: Becky Stares

Old Harry Rocks at Sunrise. Photographer: Becky Stares

The South West Coast Path Challenge in October 2015 is a fundraising event, which aims to set a new record for the number of times people can walk or run the Coast Path in one month. Participants can create their own challenge or join one of four organised 10 mile challenge walks – every mile counts!

On Saturday 31st October, the last of the 10 mile Challenge walks kicks off on the beautiful Dorset coast – the official end of the South West Coast Path.

Setting off from Durlston Country Park, the route takes in high, level cliff walking between St Aldhelm’s Head and Durlston Head and is followed by fairly easy walking along the promenade of the seaside town of Swanage.

As you walk through open grassland and woodland around Studland, keep a look out for bottlenose dolphins and take time to enjoy the beautiful seasonal wildflowers and butterflies and the spectacular views of the chalk stacks of Old Harry. Three miles of sandy beaches running all the way to South Haven Point offer plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the views across Poole Bay to Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

Just before the ferry to Sandbanks the famous steel sculpture marks the end of the Challenge route and the end of the South West Coast Path.

Hayley Partridge, South West Coast Path Events Officer says;

“We’ve had 3 amazing organised walks so far during the Challenge, beginning at the very start of the Path in Minehead down to the most southerly point in Cornwall across to Plymouth and now to this stunning stretch of coast in Dorset which will not disappoint! I would really encourage people to sign up by registering online or just call us. It’ll be a truly memorable experience, a chance to get together with others, see some beautiful scenery and help us celebrate the final push of our record breaking challenge attempt.”

Money raised will go towards Path improvement projects to help protect the coastline for future generations. It costs at least £1,000 to maintain just 1 mile of Coast Path and it needs help.

The South West Coast Path Challenge is organised by the South West Coast Path Association, with the National Trust as a charity partner as part of its coastal celebrations in 2015. A team of National Trust rangers are taking part in the Swanage walk and will be dressing up in Halloween costume for the ten mile walk.

Mark Harold, Regional Director of the National Trust says;

“With over 300 miles of coastline in the South West owned and cared for by the National Trust, the South West Coast Path is the golden thread that joins our coastal outdoors sites together.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Association on their flagship event as part of our coastal festival celebrations this year and look forward to seeing how many miles we can clock up in one month.”

Arrival and Registration will be from 9.00am, Shell Bay National Trust Car Park, Ferry slipway, Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset BH19 3BA  with transfer by coach at 9.30am to the start point for 10.00am, Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, BH19 2JL

It costs £20 to register for the organised walks and £10 for an individual challenge.

Register to take part at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/events/challenge

All participants in the month long event, whether they create their own challenge or take part in an organised event, are being encouraged to create their own video pledge and to record their adventures in words and pictures for a chance to win a Go Pro Camera. All posts on social media that include the tag #Challenge630 will be judged by Monty Halls at the end of the month when he will pick a winner.

Entries can include a selfie beside a beautiful view, footprints in the sand or a simple pair of boot clad feet, anything that represents people enjoying the Coast Path’s access to the sea and illustrates the idea of the old adage; ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints…’

Read a four step guide on how to create your own video blog on the competition page online.

Don’t forget to put #Challenge630 in the subject line.

Deadline to enter the competition: Midnight 31st October – a pledge can be made right up until the last minute – so if you decide to do something on October 31st you can create your pledge and fulfil your challenge in the same day.
Full terms and conditions can be viewed on the #Challenge630 competition page at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/events/challenge/challenge-630

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