This project will repair, improve and promote the South West Coast Path (SWCP). Funds will help with 32 urgent repair works to the path, information boards and signage, and marketing. This will create and safeguard around 788 jobs from construction, management and tourism generated by the path.
Management of the Coast Path is co-ordinated by the Trail Partnership, with representatives from Local Authorities, the National Trust and other landowners who will all play an important role in delivering the two year project. The Trail Partnership Chairman, Alistair Handyside said: “The South West Coast Path is the region’s biggest tourist attraction, attracting around 8.6 million people each year, this project will ensure we are able to repair the storm damaged sections and build resilience by increasing our marketing efforts.”
Prior to 2012, on average there would be three to five path diversions per year over the Coast Path’s 630 miles, due to cliff falls or storm damage. However, due to the exceptional weather in the past two years there have been over 50. The record breaking rainfall of 2012 resulted in a large number of cliff failures, whereas the storm surges of early 2014 caused much of the damage to low-lying infrastructure and shorelines. There remains a backlog of 32 locations along the path, including Studland, where damage has yet to be repaired and the estimated cost of rectifying this is £552,340.
Ken Carter, Vice-Chairman of the South West Coast Path Association goes on to say: ‘The Trustees are working hard to build the capacity of the charity, to contribute to the marketing and fund raising effort, to ensure the path is one of the best walks in the world and to protect it for all to enjoy. The SWCPA will sustain and grow this marketing effort by providing opportunities for people, business and funders to show their support for the path. The funding from Coastal Communities will help the SWCPA and the National Trust to also deliver a range of events for people to enjoy our coastal assets’.
£100,000 will be spent on improving signage at key coastal locations, including 43 National Trust sites.
Bella Crawford, National Trust SW Coastal Engagement Officer, said: “We are excited to be involved in this partnership project and the funding will provide vital and urgent repair work to some of our coastal sites that were badly damaged by last winter’s devastating storms. The grant will also help improve information provision at our coastal sites across the South West.”