South West Coast Path start gets a pavement makeover

Thousands of walkers come to Minehead each year to walk bits, if not all of the South West Coast Path. Starting on the Minehead seafront and finishing in Poole, some of the most spectacular views of the whole 630-mile route can be seen in the first 20 miles of the route from Minehead to Lynmouth.

The original pavement signage marking the start of the trail in Quay Street was worn out some years ago but has now been reinstated alongside markings for the start of the West Somerset Coast Path which takes walkers in the opposite direction to the Steart peninsular and Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve. Working with the South West Coast Path Association and Somerset County Council, Minehead BID, the business group, first set the wheels in motion to refresh the markings last year only to be thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Graham Sizer, Minehead BID Chair and Jordan Price, WJ

Enlisting the support of road marking contractors WJ South West Limited, based in Wellington the job was completed in time for this summer’s peak season. WJ kindly donated this work as part of their “Thinking Community” initiative.

Kirstie Manning from WJ South West Limited said: “It was a pleasure working with Minehead BID on this project. After visiting the site and agreeing on the layout of the markings our MD Terry Trevelyan agreed we could carry out this project through our “Thinking Community” Scheme which helps local communities in the areas that we live and work.”

“Jordan Price, our Screed Chargehand completed the works and said it was great to be a part of this project and see our markings at the start of such a popular footpath. We look forward to working with Andrew and Minehead BID again in the future!”

Photo: Isobel Pring

Although not a major project on the Minehead BID project list, the business consortium is demonstrating that when one of its 50 or more initiatives this year is ticked off their list, it contributes to the attractiveness of the town. "There are many small but neglected areas visitors and locals walk past each day. On their own, they are insignificant" added BID Chair Graham Sizer, "but cumulatively they add up to the perceptions of the town. Fixing them one by one we believe our work is now beginning to pay big dividends."

Isobel Pring, England Coast Path Officer for Somerset added: “This revamping of the link between the South West Coast Path and the West Somerset Coast Path is a great example of the linking up of coastal trails that, along with the establishment of new coastal access rights, we are working with Natural England to deliver as part of the England Coast Path National Trail.

During the challenging times of the last 18-months, outdoor access via the Rights of Way network has been a lifeline for many people and it is great to see this work complete prior to what is expected to be one of the busiest tourist seasons in the South West has ever had.”

Julian Gray from the South West Coast Path Association said: “Seeing the pavement signage reinstated helps create a sense of place for where these two parts of the England Coast Path join. There has been a steady increase in people using the SW Coast Path with now over 8 million visits a year, generating over £500 million for the local economy.”

Sue Applegate, Public Rights of Way and Access Officer for Exmoor National Park Authority added: “Minehead is a key location on the Coast Path so it is great to raise the profile of the route in the town by refreshing the signage along the seafront. Whether you go east towards Steart or head west up into Exmoor National Park along the South West Coast Path, you are guaranteed a great walk with fantastic views across the Bristol Channel.”

Photo: Isobel Pring

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