The South West Coast Path Association (SWCPA) is celebrating the natural beauty of the South West Coast Path by organizing 100 circular walks during the last week in September. The Great South West Walks will take place over 9 days in Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall as well as along Devon's North and South coasts.

100 sponsored walks on the South West Coast Path

Altogether the charity fundraising event will include 100 sponsored walks along the entire length of this National Trail to raise vital funds for maintaining the coastal path. Each winter, rock falls and coastal erosion require maintenance to keep the path safe and navigable. The proposed maintenance and improvement projects will make this national resource even more enjoyable for everyone.

The Great South West Walks will also raise funds for the Children's Hospice South West to provide care and support for children who are terminally ill. The goal will be to raise £250,000 to be split between these two worthy causes.

How YOU can be part of the Great South West Walks event

Those visiting or living in Cornwall can be part of this giant walking effort by joining in one or more of these walks. Browse the range of walks available which offer a choice of easy, moderate or challenging grades. You can also opt for a theme such as wildlife, historical, scenic views or even tea rooms!

You can see the full range of walks on the Great South West Walks page of the South West Coast Path website. The walks are divided into areas and for Devon you can choose from 44 different walks. There are 9 walks on Exmoor; 9 walks along the North Devon coast; 15 walks along the South Devon coast or 11 walks in Torbay and East Devon.

Sign up for one or do a series and make a full 9-day holiday out of this organized even. As this is a fundraising project, everyone is asked to donate £7.50 per walk. The website also gives information about how to organise sponsorship to raise more funds from your efforts. Despite the blisters and sore muscles, it is sure to be a fun event and you will play an important part in the association's history.

History of the South West Coast Path

The South West Coastal Path covers 630 miles (1,014 km) of scenic coastline with a footpath that runs continuously from Poole to Minehead. It runs from Dorset around the south and north coasts of Devon and Cornwall, and into Somerset. The path traverses many areas that are owned and managed by the National Trust.

This National Trail began as a footpath for coastguards to walk from lighthouse to lighthouse, patrolling for smugglers. The path hugs the edge of the cliff closely. It enabled them to look down into the coves and bays favoured by bootleggers bringing contraband and rum ashore, avoiding the customs and excise taxes due.

The footpath is funded by Natural England, maintained by the South West Coast Path Team and supported by the South West Coast Path Association, which looks after the interests of all walkers and users of the footpath. Over the last 41 years the SWCPA have campaigned for improvements, produced guides and offered completion certificates to those who complete the whole route.

Whichever walk you choose as part of the Great South West Walk, you are sure to be in the company of some great walkers and guides and will have the pleasure of enjoying some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the UK.

Have you walked parts of the South West Coast Path? Which is your favourite stretch, and why? What tips would you give to those planning to take part in the Great South West Coast Walk? Please leave your comments below.