South Milton route of the South West Coast Path to be improved with help from the Marines

12th July 2016

Marines from 42 Commando have been drafted in to help with the diversion of the Coast Path at Beacon Point, South Milton, in South Devon today (Monday 11 July).

They helped fill and shift around 2000 seed bags, weighing 20kg each, to establish a re-aligned route for the South West Coast Path between Thurlestone and Hope Cove. The bags will form part of a new natural bank that runs alongside the Path.

The diversion was necessary following a cliff fall and the new route will ensure this stretch of the Coast Path can move closer to the sea in time for the summer holidays

Lt Col Mark Totten MBE RM, Commanding Officer 42 Commando Royal Marines said: “42 Commando Royal Marines are always more than happy to lend support where possible to local projects such as the South West Coast Path. Based at Bickleigh Barracks in Plymouth we absolutely consider ourselves a part of the South West community and so we are glad to have an opportunity to contribute towards something that will clearly benefit not only the residents of South Milton Sands but the wider public in their recreational pursuits.”

A volunteer donation of sausage rolls and donuts will provide the necessary fuel for the troops thanks to the Salcombe Bakehouse, a business member of the South West Coast Path Association.

Many sections of the Coast Path in south Devon were severely damaged in the storms of February 2014 and Devon County Council has been working hard with the South West Coast Path Association and various partners to repair the damage.

Mark Owen, National Trail Officer for the Coast Path, said: “The impact that the cliff falls and associated Coast Path closures had on local businesses following the storms in early 2014 actually led to a decrease in tourism spend. Jobs supported by the Coast Path were estimated to have reduced from 11,393 to 10,610 in the region.The repairs therefore, will help to encourage visitors to return and support the creation of more jobs in the tourism industry which benefit from the Coast Path.”

This is the final project to be completed, all of which have been possible thanks to funding from Devon County Council and the Coastal Communities Fund, plus a further contribution from the South Hams Appeal Fund. Other projects in the area included the footbridge at South Milton Lee, a new route through Thurlestone Golf Course and the rebuilding of the sea wall at Hope Cove.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for public rights of way, said: “This is a great example of how partnership working is helping to restore an important asset for our local economy. The completion of the repairs of this part of the Coast Path could not have come at a better time as we head towards a popular time of year for walkers. The County Council, with support from the South West Coast Path Association, has worked hard to restore sections of the path across Devon that suffered during the devastating storms in 2014. I'm sure locals and visitors will enjoy using this part of the path once again."

Councilllor Rufus Gilbert, Local County Councillor for Thurlestone, Salcombe and Allington, said: "Thanks to Devon County Council funding with support from the South West Coast Path and, of course, the wonderful help from the marines, the Path is back open again for the summer season at a popular, well used section of the Coast Path. This is another example of how the community working together can ensure a much valued asset can be maintained to a high standard."

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Marines from 42 Commando help with the diversion of the SWCP at South Milton. - SWCPA
Marines from 42 Commando at Beacon Point, South Milton. - SWCPA