Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Caring for the coast path

Lizard Head in the Spring

The south west coast path traverses 600 miles of the UK’s finest scenery. Walk the whole distance from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset and, with all those ups and downs, you will climb the equivalent of 4 times the height of Everest! Over half of the coast path is in the care of the National Trust, so naturally it features strongly in our work in the SW.

 Here on the Lizard the National Trust cares for more than 10 miles of this well-loved trail. Work can be divided into routine maintenance, such as strimming and keeping drains flowing, and larger improvement projects. In the summer months just keeping on top of the strimming is a never ending task, tackled by staff, our regular volunteers, and contractors called in as reinforcements. More sheltered sections of the path require up to 3 cuts per year. 


renovating a footbridge at Black Head
New boardwalk and stepping stones at Chynalls Cliff

In recent times we have benefited hugely from two big investments in the path. Thanks to a very generous single donor, we have been able to employ an Access Ranger for most of the last 18 months, and this role will continue into 2014. Working together with our volunteers, the Access Ranger has allowed us to take huge strides forward in bringing structures such as steps, bridges and stiles up to a consistent standard.

Running in tandem with our Access Ranger’s work, has been a series of larger scale projects undertaken by contractors.  Many of these improvements have involved mini-diggers and other machinery, to bring about long-term solutions to sections that have been a recurring headache. Hopefully the days of repeatedly infilling gulleys on the steep hill above Poltesco are behind us, now that new larger cross drains have been installed, made of local serpentine stone. 8 different footpath projects have been completed by contractors on NT land on The Lizard in the last year, investing over £15000 in the coast path.

contractors re-profiling a stream crossing to reduce flood risk

Tasks have included rebuilding collapsed revetments, widening narrow and awkward sections of path, and making drainage fit to cope with heavier rainstorms. The majority of this funding has come from the Rural Development Programme for England, and the South West Coast Path Association, and we acknowledge their help in pushing forward these welcome improvements.

There’s never been a better time to get out and explore our coast on foot!



  1. Keep up the good work. We love visiting the lizard annually. May I ask where is Chynalls cliff is? Is this by Chynalls Point at Coverack Headland?x

  2. We will really appreciate the new footbridge at Black Head. Thank You.


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