January Walk of the Month

Happy New Year!

Now is the time to set yourself some new fitness goals and step out onto the blustery South West Coast Path to blow away the cobwebs – just make sure you take your waterproofs! The health benefits of walking by the sea are well founded and it’s one of the simplest, most pleasurable ways to keep fit while enjoying a great day out.

January’s long but mostly level 7.4 mile (11.8 km) walk starts from the First Downs car park outside Porthleven. It includes a lakeside walk around The Loe, where Sir Bedivere is said to have cast Excalibur into the water as King Arthur lay dying. Here, the waves crash deafeningly on the shingle barrier beach, the site of an 1807 shipwreck costing 120 lives, commemorated in a memorial in the dunes. Cornwall’s largest natural freshwater lake is a major overwintering area for many wildfowl and waterbirds, and cormorants roost in the trees fringing the swamp behind it. There is an optional shortcut across Loe Marsh, reducing the distance to about 8km (5 miles).

For more details about this walk from Porthleven, go to its page on the South West Coast Path website.

Porthleven on the south Cornwall coast is a great base for a winter walk on a less blustery day than the one pictured above. This image of waves crashing into the clock tower features in the 2016 South West Coast Path calendar for January. All 12 pictures are on display at Lynmouth Pavilion, until 31st January.

You can purchase a copy of the 2016 calendar from the South West Coast Path Association’s online Shop but stock is limited and once they’re gone they’re gone. So, be quick!

Bluebell bonanza

Get a spring in your step with a breathtaking bluebell walk along the South West Coast Path. From Salcombe to Dartmouth, Lyme Regis to Exmoor, here’s our pick of the best at http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/bluebellwalks

North Cornwall National Trust

Right now is the time to get out and about on the coast path and witness one of those seasonal magic moments. At Pentire Head the bluebells are looking their best, with parts of the cliff swathed in the blue flowers. Bluebells are more often associated with woodland, but are also common on unimproved grasslands. In the warm, moist climate of the south west bluebells can thrive too on the more sheltered aspects of the cliffs. Careful management with scrub cutting and then grazing prevents the grasslands being over run with gorse, thorn, brambles and aggressive grasses, instead allowing space for our delicate coastal wildflowers to flourish. The photos here were taken in the meadow just east of Lead Mines on the coast path towards Lundy Bay.
Of course there are dozens more different species of flower starting to bloom on the coast – do you know your spring squill…

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