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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Funding threat to coastal path
Cornwall coastal path
The coastal path brings over 10m a year to the local economy
The future of Cornwall's historic coastal footpath could be threatened by a lack of funding.

The 300-mile coastal path relies heavily on money from the Countryside Agency to help maintain it.

But the Agency has announced it is to cut 40,000 from the allocation it gives Cornwall County Council this year.

The council's portfolio holder for environment and heritage, Helen Richards, said it could have a devastating effect on Cornwall's economy.

"About one-and-a-half million holidaymakers use the path.

'Huge blow'

"It brings in well over 10m a year to the local economy and it is very important to protect that resource.

"Local residents also use it for relaxation, stress-busting and getting fit.

"It is very, very important to us and this loss of funding is a huge blow."

Eric Wallis from the South West Coast Path Association said: "Naturally we are all very disappointed at this news.

Dreadfully overgrown

"The county council has to manage 300 miles of the Coast Path and I know that they do manage to cut back vegetation on the path.

"However, I am already getting reports that in several areas it is dreadfully overgrown with brambles and stinging nettles.

"With even less money available, the problem will only get worse.

"We truly hope that this announcement will not affect maintenance of some of the most beautiful parts of the path."

The South West Coast Path stretches 630 miles, from Minehead in Somerset, west to Lands End and east to Poole in Dorset.

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