A new way for walkers to keep track of their progress along the South West Coast Path has been launched, with Swanage Information Centre one of the places to pick up a ‘passport’ stamp.
The passport-sized booklet produced by the South West Coast Path Association covers all 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Studland in Dorset, and details the locations where walkers can get a unique stamp to prove that they’ve been there and ‘done it’.
Walkers collect stamps along the path in their ‘passport’
“Absolutely fantastic idea”
The organisers say that it’s a way to encourage more people to walk sections of the world-famous coast route, as well as providing a useful record of where they have been.
Sarah Tattersall, assistant manager at Swanage Information Centre, said:
“Walking along the coastal path is certainly becoming more popular with more people wanting to get out and exercise – it’s something we’re keen to encourage.”
“It’s a really pretty design and I think it’s an absolutely fantastic idea.
She admits that whether people have actually walked the path will have to be ‘taken on trust’.
The scheme is based on the Credencial or pilgrim’s passport which is a document that gets stamped along the famous Camino de Santiago route in Spain
“Bring more people to the museum”
Other stamping stations or way maker points along the Jurassic Coast stretch of the path include The Etches Collection – a museum of marine life fossils in Kimmeridge and the Lulworth Visitor Centre.
In all, there are more than a hundred visitor information centres, museums, cafés, shops and pubs, that have signed up to take part from Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
Carla Crook, operations manager at the Etches Collection, said:
“We think it’s amazing because Kimmeridge is a key location on the coastal path, and it will bring more people into the museum.”
The Jurassic Coast stamp has an iconic ammonite design. All the unique stamps have been hand-carved by Marc Hoskin of Devon-based company Wild Work.
It’s hoped the passport will create a fitting souvenir of the trail while also raising much-needed funds to look after the path. It costs £6.50 to buy the passport online.
Carla Crook at the Etches Collection in Kimmeridge
“Amazing natural asset”
In West Dorset, visitor centre manager for the West Bay Discovery Centre Liz Bryant said:
“It will help bring attention to the great work the South West Coast Path Association does with its partners along the Jurassic Coast to look after this amazing natural asset, as well as helping us to welcome more walkers to West Bay.”
West Bay Discovery Centre
Based on the Camino de Santiago
Julian Gray, director of the South West Coast Path Association said:
“We’re really excited about the passport which is based on the world-famous ‘Camino de Santiago’ walk across Northern Spain which uses the same model.
“We hope the fun of collecting the stamps will encourage people of all ages to experience the amazing health and wellbeing that the South West Coast Path offers, whether they are walking just one small bit or the whole lot!”
Lulworth Cove is one of the scenic beauty spots along the way
“Many of our visitors actually live locally”
Carla Crook, of the Etches Collection, added:
“It’s really interesting that since Covid more and more people are going out to explore their local areas and so we’re finding that many of our visitors actually live locally. After all, walking doesn’t cost anything, especially in these days of high fuel prices.”
The South West Coast Path Association is hoping to recruit more way maker points in time for its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2023.
More about the South West Coast Path passport and to buy a copy, visit the charity’s website.
For the Jurassic Coast section, the stamp is an ammonite