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Campaign underway to renovate D-Day footpath

Campaign underway to renovate D-Day footpath

PUBLISHED ON: 13 JUNE 2018

A major fundraising push to reinvigorate one of the New Forest National Park’s most popular walking routes is underway.

The Lepe Loop, on the New Forest’s southern coast, crosses beaches where troops left for the D-Day landings more than 70 years ago.

There are three big areas that could benefit from improvement – the signage (interpretation), a series of bridges, and some sections of the path where surface improvements would encourage more use.

The push to raise funds for the footpath is being spearheaded by the New Forest National Park Authority and Hampshire County Council with help from Friends of Lepe. The fundraising is part of the nationwide Make One Million campaign, run by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), which is aiming to raise £1million to renovate footpaths in all 15 of the UK’s National Parks.

Online donations are now being accepted, with fundraising continuing for the next six months, with a variety of initiatives planned:

  • Events at Lepe Country Park
  • Guided and sponsored walks round the Loop
  • Summer crowdfunding campaign offering ‘money can’t buy’ experiences for donations
  • Opportunities for visitors to Lepe to donate when they visit.

There will also be a contribution to the campaign from the BMC’s fundraising nationally and grant funding will be sought locally.

Money raised will be used to improve the surface of the route so that it is accessible to a broader range of people throughout the year. It will also be used to replace the interpretation boards, allowing walkers to learn about its history and wildlife.

New Forest National Park Ranger, Chris Marshall, said: ‘As well as being enjoyed by thousands of people each year, the National Park’s coastline is precious habitat for wading birds. So we hope people will join us in grabbing this opportunity to improve one of the coast’s most popular paths.’

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: ‘We want everyone to fully enjoy Hampshire’s amazing coastline and countryside, and Lepe is a particularly special place with its spectacular views. I would encourage everyone to support this worthy campaign.

‘Walking and enjoying the coast is incredibly beneficial for health and wellbeing, and makes a great low-cost day out. Improving the Lepe Loop will mean families, friends and pets can enjoy a great walk, complemented by the improved facilities we have just built at Lepe Country Park. Crucially the improvements will make the route more weather-resistant, enabling it to be enjoyed all year round.’

To donate to the campaign and watch the video visit mendmountains.thebmc.co.uk/new-forest

Notes to photo editor

Lepe Loop in March 2018, almost impassable due to water and mud.

Notes to editor

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect – Enjoy – Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:
– Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect.
– Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:
– Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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