Our flagship ‘Every Mile Matters’ campaign is the channel we use to ask Trail-users to think more deeply about how the Path is cared for and why access to the coastal landscape is so vital. It is also our platform to fundraise for its future and communicate about how we as a charity are playing our part to address the big issues affecting the Coast Path’s communities: namely health and wellbeing, our local economy, and perhaps most importantly of all, the environmental crisis.
Every Mile Matters is gaining momentum. Earlier this year we hit £100k fundraised less than a year after launch, and we have just welcomed our fifth corporate sponsor to the campaign – Original Cottages join Athletic Brewing Co, Forthglade, South West Water and the South West Business Council. Thousands of you have engaged with the campaign online and hundreds have donated or fundraised in support of what we are trying to achieve – a huge thank you.
Over 9 million people use the Trail each year, so we’ve got a long way to go to reaching everyone we want to with our messages. One of the key ways that you can help the campaign to build is using the hashtag #EveryMileMatters and sharing the links to our website (www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/everymilematters) when posting about your Coast Path adventures on social media. Together we can grow the network of people making the link between memories made on the Trail and our cause. Thank you so much to everyone who has done this or supported in some way already, you are all stars!
2021 has been another of extreme weather and sobering climate change predictions, but also inspiring and creative solutions from partners. So, with COP26 focusing our minds, we are going to be making a conscious effort to bring environmental messaging to the campaign’s fore going forward. As keen walkers and runners we all need to take action, both individually and collectively, for the future of the Trail and the planet. Organisationally, that means funding and championing as many environmentally-focussed projects along the Coast Path as we can and sharing how Coast Path-users can make a difference – through their behaviour and spending.
So far this year some of our environmentally focussed work has consisted of:
- Funding several coastal-erosion mitigation projects on the Trail, including at Rinsey and the Lizard, both in West Cornwall.
- Feeding-in significantly to Defra’s National Landscapes Service consultation about the future of protected landscapes.
- Co-hosting a virtual event with the World Trails Network as part of the G7 Fringe which shone a light on the biggest issues affecting the SWCP and trails globally.
- Beginning to engage walkers and runners on the issue of public transport access to the Trail (survey open at: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SWCP-transport-survey).
- Launching a new climate change trail app for Slapton, South Devon which uses augmented reality to bring to life the changing coast in this particularly fragile environment.
Over the next few months, we will be:
- Helping to fund the preliminary work for a new project with South Devon AONB aiming to restore invertebrate populations at threat of imminent extinction between Berry Head and Wembury.
- Founding a new organisation to be the voice of trails nationally with our partners so we can work together more efficiently to tackle with the challenges of the future (we will shortly be applying to the Charity Commission for charity status – more on this soon).
- Supporting the production of a short film about the climate change impacts along the coast in Cornwall, by Cornwall Climate Care.
- Reviewing our environmental footprint as an organisation and looking for greener alternatives. We already produce our Complete Guide on uncoated, carbon balanced paper using a carbon balanced printing company, and have started sending this magazine ‘naked’, but we can do more.
Look out for more detail on these Every Mile Matters stories in our e-news, blog and social media, as well as how you can get involved, over the coming months. You can read more about the environmental issues affecting the Coast Path, from coastal erosion to our vulnerable wildlife corridor, on our website at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/everymilematters. You can donate to the work on the ground that this campaign supports at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/donate-emm. Thank you for sharing our belief that #EveryMileMatters.