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Stepping Forward14th May 2014
The South West Coast Path National Trail is celebrating after revealing that the investment in its three-year, Unlocking our Coastal Heritage project has paid off.
At an event held at the RAMMuseum, Exeter it was announced that the momentum generated by this project will continue as partners pledged their ongoing support for this valuable regional asset.
The project's aim was to increase the economic value of the South West Coast Path National Trail (SWCP) by protecting and enhancing heritage features, improving the quality of the route and working with businesses to improve the facilities and information provided to visitors.
This has been achieved through a series of investments totalling almost £3m of public and private funds into over 300 projects spread across the whole path that have made the route more interesting and enjoyable for walkers. These were delivered by a wide partnership of organisations led by the SWCP Team.
Research commissioned to evaluate the project found that in 2012, South West Coast Path walkers spent £439m, which supports 9771 jobs, and an increase of almost 15% since the start of the project in 2010 – so it really shows how important it is to the regions’ economy.
Jon Brooks, the National Trust’s Countryside Manager for West Cornwall, oversaw numerous path improvements and also work to conserve old mine structures in the West Penwith part of Cornish Mining World Heritage site delivered as part of the project. He said:
“This project shouldn’t end here. I’ve had great feedback from visitors and locals about the work - buts there’s much more that could be done.”
The National Trust’s Peter Davis, MBE and Deputy Chair of their South West Regional Advisory Board added that the South West Coast Path is the “gateway to some of the region’s most wild and spectacular places.”
It’s also home to 60% of the UK’s Heritage Coasts and more than a third of its length is owned and managed by the National Trust. The remainder is looked after by the local authorities, all of whom have agreed to contribute future funds and support to enable the National Trail partnership to continue ‘Unlocking our Coastal Heritage’.
All this is great news for the businesses that directly benefit from the Coast Path and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the recent storms putting increasing pressure on the National Trail Partnership to continue to deliver a world-class route. For the time being at least, its reputation as one of the world’s greatest walking routes remains intact and as the research has proved, it’s well worth investing in for the future.
More information about the individual strands of the project can be found atwww.southwestcoastpath.com/UCH
For further information about the income the South West Coast Path brings to the South West, please see the 2012 key findings summary created in January 2014.