|The path traverses a stunning coastline
SW Coast Path celebrates its Jubilee this year, but this popular
beauty spot is under threat from natural erosion and the trampling
of boots. So what can be done to halts its decay?
2003 is the
silver jubilee of the completion of the South West Coast Path.
With its unique history and beauty, the path attracts millions of local,
national and international walkers to the South West region every year.
But erosion is spoiling the party. Some parts of the path have been moved,
but it is not always possible to move the route 15/30 metres inland.
power erodes the coastline
is not the only issue which is creating problems for the future of the
Dyer from Exeter University is just completing research on the effect
of human erosion on the path.
coast line has been shaping itself for thousands of years and erosion
is the paradox of the path as it can both create and destroy the incredible
was finally completed in 1978 when the Somerset and North Devon section
The longest walk
It is Britain's longest National trail running from Minehead in Somerset
to South Haven Point near Poole, Dorset.
With it's 302 bridges, the path is 630 miles long.
Coast Path is based on a working footpath
If you were to walk 10 miles a day it would take you over 2 months to
walk the path.
West Coast Path is unique because it is based on a working footpath which
was in use until comparatively modern times.
used to patrol the whole coast of the South West Peninsula on foot, every
day, in the course of their duties in pursuit of Revenue protection against
This lasted until 1856 and the Admiralty carried on the work until 1913.
The authorities are trying to divert the path or amend it but it's not
always possible to find an alternative on the coast.
Path closed due to erosion
also a financial constraint as with an annual budget of £600,000
projects have to be prioritised.
erosion is one of the main problem with diverting the path.
where the path has been diverted is in Torbay.
The cliffs are in great danger of falling down and it is to protect the
public that the path has been pushed inland.
is a problem but it is not the only erosion that can be a problem for
the South West Coast path.
|COAST PATH FACTS
path is 630 miles (1014km) long, 17 miles longer than the previous
are 2,473 signs and waymark posts
the complete path requires encountering 921 stiles and 26,719 steps
are 302 bridges, the longest of which is at Thurlestone in South Devon
and is 80 yards (73m) long
total of 19 miles (30km) of coast is at risk to regular coastal slippage.
It is great
that the path attracts hundreds of thousands of walkers every year, but
this could also lead to its destruction.
use of the path can start human erosion.
An unpublished study describes the effect of human use of the path.
is completing a study of paths in the South West for her PhD at Exeter
that people not following the path create human erosion.
The lost vegetation on the side of the path will accelerate erosion as
there is nothing 'keeping it' together.
Which is why it is important to keep to the path.