Monday, 2 February 2015

Funding for Coast Path Projects

The winter storms that battered the coast at the beginning of 2014 are still having an impact on the coastline at Penrose. We have just completed the two projects at Gunwalloe that make the South West Coast Path (SWCP) along here much safer and easier to use. The funding came from the Big Lottery Fund’s Coastal Communities Fund via the South West Coast Path Association. Our projects were two of 32 in Devon and Cornwall that aimed to repair, promote and improve the SWCP.
The cliff edge crumbling away
Old kissing gates diverting walkers onto the farm track
 The first project was located just above Dollar Cove at Gunwalloe where the cliff had crumbled away to leave the fence hanging in mid-air. This section of cliff is extremely soft and the top layer is mainly composed of windblown, compacted sand. The coast path here had been re-routed inland a few years ago and was diverted onto the farm track for a short distance. This project has allowed us to move the farm track further inland and separate the SWCP from the track, making it much more enjoyable for walkers.

New coast path on the right, new farm track on the left of the fence

The second project involved moving the SWCP inland at Baulk Head, near Gunwalloe Fishing Cove. The cliffs here are very high with steep vertical faces. A few deep cracks opened up last year and although the edge hasn’t crumbled away, the crevices are potentially very dangerous. After speaking with the NT farm tenant on the fields here, were lucky enough to be able to move the fence 15 meters further inland. This means the coast path will be safe for years to come and it also means that this section will revert from agricultural use to natural cliff-top grassland habitat. Hopefully it won’t be long before species like thrift and wild carrot start to spread.
Crevice in the centre of the the photo

Our safety signs you see at intervals along the coast remind walkers to stay well back from the cliff edge, which is good advice as the edge isn't always clearly defined and as you can see from this photo, cracks can be hidden by long grasses. It’s a great time of year to be out walking the coast path- quieter than the summer but the weather can be as good if you chose a sunny, calm day!

For more information on the South West Coast Path Association please visit:

Laura Bailey
Community Ranger, Penrose 

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