Creatives back charity campaign to support Coast Path

Artists from across the region, whose work takes inspiration from the coast, have been showing their support for the South West Coast Path

Poets, painters, potters and other independent artists are sharing their work and creating new original pieces to get behind a campaign which aims to raise much needed funds to support Britain’s longest National Trail. Since its launch earlier in the year, the Every Mile Matters campaign highlights the Coast Path’s vital role in supporting people’s health & wellbeing, the local economy and the amazing environment along the coast of the South West.

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Lands End; choughs, jackdaws and sweetie wrappers amongst the rocks by Kurt Jackson, Crantock Shoreline by Gemma Lessinger and Gorse at Bull Point by Hester Berry

The idea originally had been to host an art inspired fundraising event, but with lockdown restrictions in place we adapted our plans to instead bring the Trail to people’s homes virtually. It is also an opportunity to promote numerous independent artists who, like so many others, are facing uncertain times ahead. Examples of artist’s work can be seen on the charity’s social media channels and on our website. Contemporary landscape artist Kurt Jackson, who has a studio near St Just in Cornwall has spoken out about his own connections to the Trail.

“This amazing path, this route, this physical line marks the edge, the margin of our country. It divides the maritime from the terrestrial; it is at a meeting point where the elements collide, nature thrives and we experience the environment in its raw state. For me it is my workplace, a studio as well as a location for relaxation and contemplation. Here I draw and paint, find inspiration and witness nature at first hand. It is precious, challenging, diverse and important; it deserves our respect and care. Here we should tread lightly."

Increasingly severe storms like those seen at the start of the year, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and increased footfall are just some of the challenges we as a charity are facing when it comes to looking after the Path. And the costs of doing so, continue to soar. Over the past five years alone, the Trail Partnership has invested an extra £2 million to keep the 630 mile-long Coast Path in good condition, and yet it remains vulnerable.

Julian Gray, Director of the South West Coast Path Association said “The South West has a strong artistic community and heritage and it’s inspiring working alongside writers, painters and craftspeople to raise awareness of our fantastic coast. Artists can engage people in the environment at an emotional level, helping to inspire and understand the need to protect it for future generations. The lockdown has given us an opportunity to reconnect with nature and we should use this to help steer our path to recovery.”

In a recent survey of Coast Path users, 1 in 4 people said they felt inspired creatively after walking on the Path, a number the Association hopes will increase by it working more closely with coastal artists. The charity hopes by taking this creative approach to raising awareness about important issues on the Trail, it can reach its ambitious target of raising £100,000 to help protect it. If successful, the charity could use these funds to increase the Path’s resilience against the onslaught of extreme weather; conserve the Trail corridor’s rich biodiversity and distinct cultural heritage; support the south west tourism economy and demonstrate the real, positive impact it has on people’s health and wellbeing. The charity’s aim is to make sure the South West Coast Path not only survives but thrives – benefitting all of society. To find out more about the work of the charity, how the Trail is being affected by climate change or to make a donation visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/everymilematters

Published on: June 15, 2020

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