Exeter Chiefs players Sam and Joe Simmonds are getting behind our appeal to improve access to the South West Coast Path. Through the Step Up appeal, we’re aiming to raise £10,000 every year to replace the 1,000 steps that are needed to keep the Coast Path accessible to walkers and runners. The two rugby stars, who both grew up and still live in Teignmouth, where the Coast Path runs through, are backing the appeal and encouraging everyone in the South West to help look after this unique natural asset.
Joe said, “The South West Coast Path is the country’s longest National Trail. Many coastal communities, like our home town of Teignmouth, rely on it for relaxation, keeping fit and as a way of staying connected to neighbouring seaside towns.”
Sam added, “We have a lot of friends and family living in Teignmouth and it’s a community that is really important to us. We hope everyone can get behind this appeal to help make our town, and others in the region, even better than they already are.”
As the longest designated National Trail in the country, the South West Coast Path takes a lot of work to maintain. Every year, more than 70 volunteers survey each meter of the Path to check what condition it is in, collectively checking over 20,000 wooden steps. Emily Stokes, who works for the South West Coast Path Association, is also a volunteer for the charity surveying an 11 mile stretch of Path from Maidencombe, near Torquay to Starcross for the past four years.
“This year’s survey revealed that at least 20 steps on my stretch need replacing and I hear from fellow volunteers, that this is similar on their stretches too. All together this could add up to over 1,400 steps that need replacing just this year. My route takes me up and down some long ascents and descents, between Maidencombe and Shaldon, in particular, with one flight over 140 steps long. The rangers who replace the steps, work in some of the most difficult places to access along our coast. I want to make sure that we provide all the rangers on the ground with the best quality materials for when they need to carry out this work, so they won’t need to do it so often.”
By donating just £10 to the appeal, you could help us buy one new step, and contribute towards our target of raising £10,000. This money would be enough to pay for 1,000 steps and enable the Association to leverage a further £15,000 of labour from rangers working on the ground, which is needed to install the steps. If you would like to know more or make a donation, please visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/step-up