As the longest of the 13 national trails in England and Wales with a length of 630 miles, The South West Coast Path follows the coastline of England’s southwest peninsular and is recognised as one of the region’s principal tourism attractions and leisure facilities. Starting at Minehead in Somerset, it follows the coastline of Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset until it reaches its end at Poole Harbour.
Walkers using the Coast Path are contributing millions of pounds (£436 million during 2012) into shops and businesses in the region, and supporting almost 10,000 local jobs. And, it was estimated that the number of people attracted to use the trail increased by 7% between 2011 and 2012, to 8.6 million. The path costs around £1 million a year to maintain, with three-quarters of the cost coming from Natural England and the remainder from local authority partners and the National Trust. Since 2010, the Coast Path has also benefited from more than £2 million in grant aid from the European-funded Rural Development Programme for England, along with further cash from other sources.