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South West Coast walk set for 40th birthday celebration

Posted 29 November 2012
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South West Coast walk set for 40th birthday celebration
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The South West Coast path will be 40 years old in 2013 - and the South West Coast Path Association has big plans to celebrate the event.

With the route - one of England's national trails - being 630 miles long, small is not really an option and the full distance is set to be covered by 56 sponsored walks taking place between April 3rd and May 7th. However, this way of doing it does mean those who just fancy joining in one stretch can walk as little as three miles, although up to 18 miles is also available.

Members of the public can join those who are part of the association on the walk. The idea is for individuals to get sponsored and the event organisers are also hoping to attract corporate sponsorship and grants, with the aim being to raise or beat a target figure of £250,000. This cash will be used for over 50 improvement projects along the length of the path.

Those who do fancy putting on their walking boots and having a go at some of the harder stretches may try sections like the route between Hartland Quay and Bude, which covers 15.4 miles and is graded as "severe". Those who like something that fills a day without being too hard may go for the 14.3-mile section between Starcross (Exe Ferry) and Babbacombe, which starts off easy but ends up being strenuous.

In time, the route will be essentially absorbed into the English Coastal Path, with perhaps some small variations in route. This would not be the first time a path dealing a particularly spectacular section of a national coastline would become part of a greater whole, for the same has happened with the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Since May, Wales has been the only country in the world with a path along its whole coast.

The superb scenery of the Welsh county was recognised when the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park was created in 1952. The south-west coast was identified as a candidate for such status by the Council for the preservation of Rural England in the 1930s. In the end, parts of it became incorporated in the fragmented Cornwall Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.

However, the South West Coastal Path does cover the coastal part of the Exmoor National Park.