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  • Charlotte Drew

March into Spring: SWCP Update

It's been almost a week since we launched our March into Spring challenge to virtually hike the entire length of the South West Coast Path during the month of March.

(photo by Aithne Thornbury)

And our members have really stepped up. We have travelled along the first 377 miles of the 630 mile route already, that's more than half way!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed miles and images to the blog ~ we couldn't fit all the images in so there's just a selection here from your local walks and your past experiences on the SWCP.

Every day we've been logging our local miles and updating the group on where they've got to. Here's how we are getting on...

Day One

91.05 miles

Minehead to Peppercombe Bothy

(The beach at Croyde by @charlotte_hikes)

Lorraine started us off. Her walk in Wincanton took us from Minehead seafront up the first steep cliff and along the moorland at the top. Then Laura C took over with her walk in Bath, which saw us past Bossington and into Porlock Weir. Katie then took us back out of Porlock, I hope you were imagining the amazing coastal views as you made your way round Bristol city centre!

Raphaelle might have captured some wicked graffiti on her city walk but she also saw us to the next headland at Foreland Bothy and Laura T 's urban hike took us on to Lynmouth and Lynton and back up again to the Valley of the Rocks.

(Raphaelle's awesome graffiti capture on her urban walk)

Isabelle's walk round the Downs took us from the Valley of the Rocks along arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of this thru-hike past Woody Bay (where you can swim in a beautiful tidal pool, as I did last year!) and Heddon's Mouth. Sofie, Mary and Vikkie then took us through the seaside towns of Combe Martin and Ilfracombe, where you can see Damien Hirst's (rather weird) 'Verity' Sculpture in the harbour.

And Mary has been quite busy today because then she took us all the way around the headland to Woolacombe, passing through the weird lunar landscape of Morte Point.

(Mary's urban walk along the Bristol harbourside)

(Woody Bay by @charlotte_hikes)

(Morte Point by @charlotte_hikes)

Karin then took us along the beautiful beach at Woolacombe when she walked near Rudgeway, and Mona continued around Baggy Point and on to Croyde on her after-work walk. Karin's second walk around Almondsbury took us into Barnstaple. The next section of the trail, thanks to Ashleigh's walk at Combe Down in Bath and Mona's Bristol harbourside walk, took us around the river mouth at Barnstaple and on to Bideford.

(Karin's Rudgeway walk)

(Baggy Point by @ems_runs_)

(Looking back at Woolacombe by @ems_runs_)

Once through the towns, we were back onto the open cliffs again at Westward Ho! (the only place in the UK with an exclamation point at the end of its name!) and Laura C's walk at the two tunnels in Bath took us along the beach there, whilst Rhiannon and Katie W finished off the day getting to Peppercombe Bothy.

I think we all deserved a good night's sleep after that!

Day Two

75.11 miles

Peppercombe Bothy to Padstow, Cornwall

On day two, we collectively covered another 75.11 miles, taking us to Padstow. I like to think maybe we've stopped there on the harbour for some of Rick Stein's totally overpriced Fish & Chips.

Gemma started off the day on her walk around Leap Valley, taking us from Peppercombe Bothy to Bucks Mills. Then Janet and Laura C saw us through the beautiful and picturesque village of Clovelly and past the stunning scenery at Blackchurch Rock.

(Blackchurch Rock ~ wikimedia commons)

(signs of spring on Janet's walk) Paloma's 9-mile walk home from work took us around Hartland Point to Hartland Quay whilst Mary's dogwalk passed Hawker's Hut (a little hut where the poet Robert Hawker would go to look out at Lundy Island - see pics). The next 7-mile stretch by Laura T saw us across the Devon-Cornwall border on her walk underneath the suspension bridge. Janet's second walk of the day at Badock Wood and Harriet's 6-miler along the Frome Valley Walkway took us through Bude (where there is a stunning sea pool) and the long beach of Widemouth Bay.

(Tintagel by Aithne Thornbury)

Lorraine passed the incredible Pentargon Waterfall and Rhianna took us into beautiful Boscastle. Mary's second dog walk and Ashleigh's river walk passed the dramatic scenery around Tintagel castle, reputed home of King Arthur! Charlotte D completed the day with her walk around St. George's Park (see her pic below), that took us through Polzeath and into Padstow via the ferry (don't worry, it's not cheating, the ferry is part of the SWCP!)

(Charlotte's walk in St. George's Park)

(Near Padstow by Ellie Hall)

Day Three

57 miles

Padstow to St. Ives (almost)

Janet started us off at Padstow, taking us around the headland past Pepper Hole and Tregudda Gorge. Laura T took over from there on her Leigh Woods walk and saw us past Big Guns Cove (!) and Trevose Head. Laura C's run around Bath took us past the beautiful beach at Porthcothan and Porth Mear Cove and Mary's long 12-mile walk at Eastwood Farm passed the dramatic beach at Bedruthan Steps and through the streets of Newquay, the surfing mecca of the UK.

(Trevose, Ellie Cook)

(Porthcothan, Ellie Cook)

(Bedruthan Steps, Sofie Borek)

Next up, Katie W's walk around Snuff Mills took us along the beach at Holywell (Poldark fans will recognise this beach - we are now entering Poldark country!). Vikkie walked along Perran Sands into Perranporth. Molly's Clifton walk and Ashleigh's hike round Kelston nr. Bath took us around the beautiful coastline (complete with Cornish tin mines) at St. Agnes' Head. Laura C ended the day with her harbourside walk, taking us through Gwithian and along the beach towards St. Ives.

(St. Agnes, Becky Maund)

Day Four

63.79 miles

St. Ives to Porthleven

Rhiannon and Laura started off the day taking us through the beautiful St. Ives (which has its own Tate Art Gallery and a cracking Thai Restaurant on the seafront). Lorraine did the next leg on her Wincanton walk, seeing us past Clodgy Point (!) and the beautiful Zennor Cove.

Vikkie and Mary then took us along the cliffs to Levant Mine, one of the many old copper and tin mines in this area of Cornwall. Katie M's walk around Bristol harbour brought us past more mines (recognisable to Poldark fans!) at Botallack.

(Botallack, Wikimedia Commons)

Special mention to Becky B, who added an extraordinary 29.8 miles to our total on her fantastic birthday walk doing the Bristol 45 Bridge Challenge! Nice work Becky (and Happy Birthday! ). Some sites that Becky took in along the coast path include the chimney at Cape Cornwall, Sennen Cove and, of course Land's End.

(Cape Cornwall, Lauren Holt)

(Lands End, Jane Dyer)

She then turned us East and along the coast to the Minack Theatre (which is just an incredible place), through the fishing villages of Mousehole (pronounced ma-w-zul) and Newlyn and along the beach at Penzance past St. Michael's Mount, where at low tide you can walk across to the island (and get stuck there if you haven't got change for the boat back )

(Mousehole, Lauren Holt)

(St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Lauren Holt)

Laura C then took us along Praa Sands and past Wheal Prosper on her wander around Bath, whilst Janet completed the day in Porthleven.

(Prussia Cove, Lauren Holt)

Day Five

89.4 miles

Porthleven to Carlyon Bay

On Friday, Laura T started us off with a long walk through Leigh Woods that took us from Porthleven to the popular tourist destination of Kynance Cove (with the beautifully named Asparagus Island).

(Kynance Cove, Lauren Holt)

Then Janet's errands around Fishponds saw us down the Lizard Point, the most southerly point on the UK mainland. Lorraine then hiked through Cadgwith Cove, whilst Mary took us to Lankidden Cove.

(The Lizard, @charlotte_hikes)

(The Lizard, @charlotte_hikes)

Vikkie's walk around St. Annes, and Katie M saw us into Coverack. Lucy's loop around Chew Lake included our second ferry crossing at the Helford Ferry, whilst Ashleigh and Laura C finished the day in the port of Falmouth.

On Saturday, Molly's harbourside loop took us on our third ferry crossing to St. Mawes and Vikkie got off the ferry and walked to St. Anthony Head on her Severn Beach walk.

(Vikkie's walk along the Severn Beach)

Janet, Laura C and Lorraine then walked along the first part of the Roseland Heritage Coast and Sofie's walk in Pensford passed Dodman Point. Mary then carried on to beautiful Mevagissey and Rhiannon finished the day at Ashton Court and took us through Charlestown and Carlyon Bay to the next headland south of Polkerris.

Keep up the good work folks!

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