Storm damaged coast path at Hope Cove repaired

Hope CoveHope Cove

Posted on: 29 April 2016

The Coast Path at Hope Cove in South Devon has been restored following the completion of extensive repairs by Devon County Council supported by the South West Coast Path Association.

The section of path was badly damaged when violent storms on 5 February 2014 carved large chunks out of the cliff at the back of Mouthwell Beach in Hope Cove. The Coast Path was severed but access was temporarily restored using a scaffold bridge across the collapsed cliff.

Erosion continued to scour the cliffs, and even the temporary bridge would have been under threat if further damage had been caused to its fixings.

The path has been repaired with the construction of a new protective sea wall thanks to funding from Devon County Council supported by South West Coast Path Association Coastal Communities Fund and a further contribution from the South Hams Appeal Fund. A local resident also contributed to the overall cost through a donation to the South West Coast Path Association.

The South West Coast Path Association has been helping to fund repairs across the region thanks to a £1 million grant it received from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) in 2014 – half of which funded repairs while the other half is being used to promote the Coast Path. All the repair projects in the South West are now complete ahead of the main walking season.

Due to its success in making a real difference to the rural economies of the region, attracting £468 million in tourism spend each year from around 8 million visitors according to its research, the Association successfully bid for an additional grant of £130,000 earlier this year to carry out further repair projects. It is one of eight projects to receive a share of £800,000 from the government to create jobs and help seaside towns attract visitors all-year round.

Escalating costs of the repairs in the original South West region project plan and with new projects identified as being in need of urgent repair after the first round of funding was secured, meant that the funding was absolutely necessary to ensure the Path remains open to visitors, thus continuing to boost the local tourist economy.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Cllr Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for public rights of way, said: “This is a great example of how partnership investment has helped restore an important asset for our local economy. The completion of the repairs of this part of the Coast Path could not have come at a better time as we head towards a popular time of year for walkers. The County Council, with support from the South West Coast Path Association, has worked hard to restore sections of the path across Devon that suffered during the devastating storms in 2014. I’m sure locals and visitors will enjoy using this part of the path once again.”

Mark Owen, National Trail Officer for the Coast Path, said: “The impact that the cliff falls and associated Coast Path closures had on local businesses following the storms in early 2014 actually led to a decrease in tourism spend and jobs supported by the Coast Path were estimated to have reduced from 11,393 to 10,610 in the region.
“The repairs therefore, will help to encourage visitors to return and support the creation of more jobs in the tourism industry which benefit from the Coast Path.”

Cllr Rufus Gilbert

Cllr Rufus Gilbert

Councilllor Rufus Gilbert, Local County Councillor for Thurlestone, Salcombe and Allington, said: “I’m a keen walker myself, and I’m delighted with how the work has progressed and the superb quality of the finish. Thanks to the South West Coast Path Association fund raising contribution to these repairs, along with Devon County Council funding, the path is back open again for the summer season at a popular, well used section of the coast path. This is another example of how the community working together can ensure a much valued asset can be maintained to a high standard.”

For more information about the South West Coast Path Association visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment