Following the inaugural South West Coast Path Challenge in 2015, the next great stomp for charity kicks off on Saturday for a month-long series of events to raise funds to help protect this National Trail.
Organised by the South West Coast Path Association in partnership with the National Trust, registered participants are invited to set their own challenge or take part in one of the organised walks taking place throughout October.
Beginning with a 10-mile walk from Minehead to Porlock on Saturday, around 70 people are taking part, completing the first leg of the 630-mile route that provides continuous coastal access around the entire south west peninsula.
Setting off from the start marker in Minehead, the route takes in the rugged moorland countryside and the highest coastline in England. Highlights include the stunning Exmoor scenery and a chance to spot rare plants and animals, including red deer.
You’ll witness the evidence of coastal erosion, where the 6000 year old shingle ridge across Porlock Bay was breached, resulting in dramatic flooding of the fields behind at each high tide to form Porlock Weir, where the walk ends.
If that gives you a taste for this coastal odyssey, you can join the 10-mile walk from Durlston to South Haven Point at the end of the month on Saturday 29th October.
In between the two 10-mile linear walks, a series of themed walks will be taking place, including a Poldark themed walk on 13th October in west Cornwall and a torchlit walk from Coleton Fishacre on 14th October, experiencing the WWII gun battery at Froward Point and the tranquil gardens at the house itself.
Belinda Smith, Coleton Fishacre Visitor Services Manager from the National Trust said:
“We are delighted to be able to take part in the South West Coast Path Challenge. Our torchlit walk will take you around Coleton to Froward Point along this stunning stretch of the South West Coast Path. With evening views of the sea and the rugged coastline, you’ll be helping to protect the coastline whilst clocking up the miles to add to this year’s total for the challenge.”
Last year’s event saw more than 700 people clocking up around 9,000 miles and raising thousands of pounds in sponsorship. It is hoped that this record will be beaten and with more than 300 people taking place this weekend alone, it’s on track for success.
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, plus an additional £2,000 for the Trust to take care of the land the surrounds it.
Funding for the trail has been in sharp decline for the past five years and it’s this motivating factor, to help plug the funding gap, that has inspired many of its rangers and National Trust staff to step up to the Challenge and organise their own events on the land that they care for on a daily basis.
For further information and to take part visit the Association’s website at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/challenge or call 01752 896237. Registration costs from £10 per person and you’ll receive a fundraising pack and a Challenge 2016 t-shirt.