The Practical Caravan team has signed up to do several of the sections of the South West Coast Path Association’s Great South West Walk.

The 630-mile walk celebrates the Association’s 40th anniversary with 56 guided, sponsored walks. The monies raised will be used to fund more than 50 improvement projects along the path’s route.

Landslips along the route have made the fund-raising even more important. Rangers have been putting in temporary diversions to make the path safe while they secure new routes.

The Association hopes to raise £85,000 from individual sponsorship to attract grants from other sources to reach an ultimate target of £250,000 for improvements.

Coast path improvements

Projects include on the south coast a new path between Cheyne Weares (near Portland Bill) and Church Ope Cove, based on informal paths through an area of quarrying and landslip. This would enable the Coast Path to be moved off the road and improve walkers’ coastal experience.

On the north coast the path from Padstow Harbour through to the War Memorial suffers drainage problems. Walkers have to go up the banks to avoid the flooding. Plans are to improve the surfacing and the drainage to make this section more accessible to families with pushchairs and mobility scooter users.

Coast path guided walks

The half- and full-day walks kick off on the south coast on 3 April for South Haven Point in Dorset and on the north coast from Minehead on 16 April.

The Practical Caravan team have all opted for half-day walks – varying excuses for not taking on full days include lack of fitness (Claudia) and carrying children (Rob).

Editor Rob Ganley and his family pick up the baton on 7 April at Langton Herring for an afternoon’s five-mile amble to Abbotsbury in the hope that son Joe will get to visit the swannery.


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Abbotsbury in Dorset is home to the famous swannery


Travel editor Claudia Dowell, who only ever walks this far on New Year’s day, usually with a slight headache, will take up the seven-mile challenge from Sidmouth to Budleigh Salterton.


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View of Sidmouth in Devon from High Peak is on Claudia’s walk


Staff writer and keen (and very good) photographer Clare Kelly wanted to see the Lizard in Cornwall, she’s doing the afternoon five-mile stint on 2 May from Kennack Sands to the Lizard.


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Housel Cove, Cornwall will be a treat for Clare to photograph


Web editor Nigel Donnelly will be tackling the morning five-mile yomp on 2 May from Crantock to Holywell Bay before he hitches up his van to go on to Practical Caravan’s Reader Rally at Stowford Farm Meadows, Combe Martin, which takes place over the early May Bank Holiday.


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Holywell Bay’s beautiful sandy beach on Cornwall’s north coast


We’ll all be there so why not join us? Call Stowford Farm Meadows on 01272 882 476, quoting ‘Practical Rally’. It’s a terrific deal, three nights for £42 per pitch, and includes afternoon tea with a jazz band, a barbecue, barn dance and lots more besides. There may even be more walking.


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Dog display at the Reader Rally at Stowford Farm Meadows

We look forward to meeting up with many of you on our walks. Let the training begin!