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 (1st October), 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.
Among the participants are 14 school children from Wellington School. Their teacher, Mr Nigel Smith said:“Wellington School are proud to support the Association’s Challenge as the students use the path for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and believe that it is vital to protect and preserve the path for future generations to enjoy.”
A husband and wife team have joined forces with their friends as part of their own challenge to eventually walk the entire 630-mile length of the South West Coast Path.
Keith Bailey said:
“I started my journey walking from South Haven Point in Dorset, the official end point of the Coast Path. The Minehead Challenge gives my wife Wendy and I the opportunity to walk the first section and so our future walks will now fill in the gaps in between.”
“Fundraising to enable the volunteers and teams to continue their amazing work is essential - particularly as government and local authority budgets come under increasing strain. I and my fellow team members are looking forward to contributing, albeit in a small way, to the continued funding needs whilst having an enjoyable day together on the Somerset coastline.”
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 another 10-mile walk from Durlston to South Haven Point at the end of the month on Saturday 29th October.
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.
South West Coast Path Challenge 2016 - Photo Porlock Weir copyright Andreas Byrne (All Rights Reserved)
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.
Follow news of the Challenge @SWCoastPath #630challenge and on Facebook/southwestcoastpath