A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Coast path erosion2012 was in many ways an extraordinary year. Team GB surpassed expectations at the Olympics, NASA landed its rover on Mars, some boffins in Italy finally discovered Higgs Bosun (the significance of this discovery is yet to sink in) and the deadly ash dieback disease, inevitably, reached our shores.

Here on the Lizard, 2012 will live long in our memories as the "rainy year". Considering the first few months of the year we were officially in a state of drought, the rain arrived in Spring and it then just seemed to get wetter and wetter, culminating in some quite extraordinary storms in November. Aside from the localised flooding causing untold misery to many local communities, the torrential rain cast a timely reminder of our dynamic and ever-changing coastline, in the shape of land slides, erosion and cliff falls. As a result, the South West Coast path suffered some of its worst damage in its 40 year history.

Evidence gathered by the South West Coast Path Association (SWCPA) suggests that along the whole 630 miles of South West Coast Path, there is usually two or three cliff falls each year, with a total of 11 falls in the past five years; yet between November 2012 and mid-January 2013, there have been 21 serious cliff falls. A significant number of these have been on the Lizard.

The care and maintenance of the South West Coast Path is costly at the best of times, especially with the current cuts to funding, but with a bunch of land slides and floods thrown in, repair costs have become completely prohibitive.


As a path manager and major land owner on the Lizard, the National Trust is responsible for the repairs and maintenance along much of the path's length. Luckily, much needed funding has come from DEFRA, (through their European RDPE funding), Natural England, local businesses and crucially, from the SWCPA.

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, the Association is inviting the public to join them in their Great South West Walk this spring. The aim is to put "40 years of love back into the coast path" through raising vital funds for a range of improvement projects.

The event will take in the entire length of the Coast Path, with the Lizard section being walked between the 1st and 3rd of May

Each day will be guided by local experts, sharing their knowledge of the area, and I am lucky to have been chosen as walk leader for the Lizard Point to Poldhu section on May 3rd. This stretch of path passes through some of the most beautiful stretches of coast path, taking in dramatic stretches of coast managed by the National Trust and Natural England. With the cliffs looking at their best at this time of year, and the added incentive of raising some much needed cash, it would be great to recruit as many walkers as possible.

If you'd like to take part and join us, visit www.GreatSouthWestWalk.co.uk or call the SWCPA team on 01752 896237

You can also follow the progress of the event on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath

Published: March 2013

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