Fundraisers take strides to improve South West Coast Path

Dorset Echo: FINE DAY: Walkers at Thorncombe Beacon FINE DAY: Walkers at Thorncombe Beacon

FUNDRAISERS and donors stepped up to the mark to march past a target set to improve the South West Coast Path.

The South West Coast Path Association has announced that it has more than doubled the original target of securing £250,000 to improve the path, which runs along West Dorset’s Jurassic coastline.

The total has reached some £640,000 which means that now more than 130 improvement projects have been completed along the South West Coast Path from Minehead in Somerset to Poole, thanks to the generosity of many tourism businesses and sponsorship from nearly 1,000 walkers.

In April and May last year the South West Coast Path Association held a 40th anniversary celebratory event – the Great South West Walk – to raise money for improvements to the South West Coast Path.

Celebrity names like Jonathan Dimbleby joined in the walk to support the venture.

The event consisted of 56 relay walks, along the north and south coasts, covering 630 miles of the path, with the original aim of raising £250,000 for 90 improvement projects through sponsorship and the release of match-funding provided by the South West Coast Path Team which oversees the maintenance of the Coast Path.

Ken Carter, chairman of the Great South West Walk project team said: “Everyone involved is overwhelmed at the final amount raised as well as the number of individuals, local businesses and organisations who have been involved.

“We are thrilled to have more than doubled our original target, enabling our partners at the South West Coast Path Team to exceed the number of improvement projects that were planned.”

Parkdean, which has a holiday centre at West Bay, is one of the businesses that sponsored a number of projects, improving sections all along the South West Coast Path.

Stephen Griffiths, regional director of Parkdean, said: “We were really proud to be involved in the Great South West Walk and the projects it has supported since.

“We are pleased that we have been able to help improve the Coast Path for locals and visitors to the South West to enjoy.”

For more information or to become a member of the South West Coast Path Association, visit southwestcoastpath.org

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