Coronavirus and the Coast Path

This page was updated on Monday 30th March. For the most up-to-date information and guidance please visit the Government website.

Stay home. Save lives

The advice is now clear and simple, stay home and save lives. We are urging you to only visit your local stretch of Coast Path as part of your allowed daily exercise and encourage you to strictly follow social distancing rules. Don't drive to the Coast Path, most coastal car parks are now closed. You can find additional information links below and advice from us on how to exercise safely during the pandemic.

To avoid putting unnecessary stress on local services, we urge holidaymakers, second homeowners and campers not to visit the south west during the outbreak. We will be doing all that we can to bring the South West Coast Path into people’s homes virtually at what is a challenging time for us all.

Official Government guidance:

Only leave your home for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents' homes, where applicable. Key workers or those with children identified as vulnerable can continue to take their children to school.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home

Guidance on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others

The best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home. However, exercise is still important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, so the government has said people can leave their homes for exercise once a day.

Please use the following guidance in order to stay safe:

  • stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily
  • you should only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • keep at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times
  • gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces have been banned and the police will enforce this
  • if you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air
  • take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors

Keep 2m away from other people

Walking is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit as we go through these uncertain times. If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the South West Coast Path, please do everything you can to restrict the spread of the virus. Remain vigilant with cleanliness, keep at least 2m between you and other people wherever it is safe to do so. Do not walk in groups and wherever possible, avoid sharing close spaces or travelling on public transport. For the latest Government advice on social distancing check here

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly 

Remember to be extra vigilant with cleanliness if you’re out walking the Coast Path at the moment. It may seem that you are limiting contact, but there are plenty of places for germs to hide. The virus could stay for up to two days on wood, so we would recommend wearing gloves, using antibacterial hand-sanitiser and washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.

Update for Members of the SWCPA

As a charity, we have moved to home working to help contain the virus and reduce the chances of it spreading within the team and those we work with. This is particularly important with projects such as our Connecting Actively with Nature walks which focus on those most vulnerable in society.  We’re moving many of our activities online including video and teleconferencing, for example we’ve moved our team and Board meetings from face-to-face to videoconference. Unfortunately we have had to cancel the AGM in June. Other site-visits such as the Coast Path Area Liaison meetings and face-to-face meetings are being postponed until the situation improves. We apologise for any disruptions to servicing memberships, donations, fundraising requests or responding to general enquiries during this time.

SWCPA Business Members

We have created a Business Member coronavirus support hub which you can access here.

On 17th March, the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP announced a £330 billion financial rescue package to support and protect businesses affected by COVID-19 including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. 

This includes:

  • £330 billion of government-backed loans and guarantees that will be available from next week
  • A package of support for airports and airlines to be announced in the coming days by the Secretary of State for Transport
  • Stated Government actions are sufficient to trigger payments for those businesses with pandemic insurance
  • For the hospitality and leisure sector there will be a business rates holiday and a £25k cash grant per retail and leisure business for those without specific pandemic insurance
  • Strengthened support for people. In addition to the measures in the budget, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month "mortgage holiday" for those in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak 

The new measures are in addition to the £12 billion announced to support businesses in the budget last week and follows earlier announcements this week by Government on travel and the need for people to practice ‘social distancing” to avoid spreading the virus. 

We’re currently looking into ways we can help businesses along the Coast Path during this period of uncertainty; if you would like to talk to us about specific business issues please contact Sarah Gunn at [email protected]

VisitBritain business advice on Coronavirus

Events on the Coast Path

The Association has postponed all upcoming public events until further notice including:

  • Couch to Coast in Ilfracombe
  • Couch to Coast Nordic Walking in Barnstaple
  • Come Walk with Us at Royal William Yard
  • Annual Golf Fundraiser (on hold for now)
    Annual General Meeting

If you have any questions about any upcoming events, please email [email protected]

Mass participation events

Photo: Jurassic Coast Challenge postponed

Sadly many of the mass-participation running and walking events due to take place on the Coast Path this Spring/Summer are being postponed or cancelled, this may include those still listed on our Event Calendar, so please check event organisers websites for more details or contact them directly for the latest information.

In the meantime why not put your training to good use and take on a solo challenge to raise money to help look after the Coast Path. Find out more here.

Published on: March 17, 2020

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