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Great South West Walk marks 40 years of South West Coast Path

Calling keen walkers & hikers! Head to Cornwall to be part of the Great South West Walk & celebrate the 40 years of the South West Coast Path Association.
The South West Coast Path Association (SWCPA) is celebrating its 40th birthday at the end of April 2013, and what better way to celebrate than with a series of walks around the Cornish coast? Altogether it is organizing 56 sponsored walks along the entire length of this National Trail.

Those visiting or living in Cornwall can be part of this giant relay by joining in one or more of these walks which range from 2 to 18 miles. Exact details, grading and dates are shown below.

How YOU can be part of the South West Coast Path Event

As well as being a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the , a registered charity, the walks aim to raise £250,000 to fund improvements to the route. The proposed projects will make this national resource even more enjoyable for everyone. Each winter, rock falls and coastal erosion require maintenance to keep the path safe and navigable.

Simply choose which walk or walks you would like to join, pay the £10 registration fee, then commit to raising £50 in sponsorship for this worthy cause. Call the Great South West Walk Booking Line on 01752 896237, or send them an email. 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 philanthropic history.

History of the South West Coast Path

The 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 and , 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 , 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 40 years the SWCPA have campaigned for improvements, produced guides and offered completion certificates to those who complete the whole route.

Dates of Great South West Walks in Cornwall

The full list of walks that are part of the Great South West Walk are detailed here but here are some of the most popular walks in Cornwall and some dates for your diary:

Thursday 25th April 2013: Tintagel to Port Isaac
N.10 (full day): Hartland Quay to Bude. 15.4 miles / 24.8 km. Grading: severe.
N.10 A (morning): Hartland Quay to Morwenstow. 7.5 miles / 12.0 km. Grading: severe. Spectacular cliffs and fierce valleys make this a very tough length of the Coast Path. However, the superb landscape and the rocky reefs extending into the Atlantic make it a memorable walk. A largely level path leads to the road access at Morwenstow.
N.10 B (afternoon): Morwenstow to Bude. 8.9 miles / 14.2 km. Grading: severe.

Sunday 28th April 2013: Tintagel to Port Isaac
N.13 (full day): Tintagel to Port Isaac (9.1 miles / 14.7 km) Grading: moderate then severe
N.13 A (am): Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand (2.2 miles / 3.5 km) Grading: moderate
N.13 B (pm): Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac (6.9 miles / 11.2 km) Grading: severe

Monday 29th April 2013: Port Isaac to Rock
N.14 (full day): Port Isaac to Rock (11.7 miles / 18.9 km) Grading: severe, becoming moderate then easy.
N.14 A (am): Port Isaac to Polzeath (8.9 miles / 14.3 km) Grading: severe then moderate.
N.14 B (pm): Polzeath to Rock (2.8 miles / 4.6 km) Grading: easy.

Tuesday 30th April 2013: Padstow to Porthcothan
N.15 (full day): Padstow to Porthcothan (13.6 miles / 21.8 km) Grading: easy.
N.15 A (am): Padstow to Trevone (5.7 miles / 9.1 km) Grading: easy.
N.15 B (pm): Trevone to Porthcothan (7.9 miles / 12.7 km) Grading: easy.

Whichever walk you choose, 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.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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