Walk and tweet: an adventure on the Cornish coast

Young adventurer Sophie Pavelle is walking the coast of Cornwall to  draw attention to plastic pollution along the coastline and hopes to challenge the way social media is used. Here she explains why...

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Tweeting, texting, posting updates about your day is becoming an increasingly prevalent habit of our daily or rather #instadaily routine. In fact, you may feel at a loss without it, with research reporting the average British adult spends more time using technology than sleeping.

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Of course I’m guilty of this, but what if I could change the way I use social media? What if I could use it to talk to my generation about more important things, such as British wildlife, conservation and environmental issues like plastic pollution?

Starting on the 11th June, I will be embarking on a 300-mile solo expedition around the entire coast of Cornwall. Armed with my iPhone and a backpack, I’ll be on a mission to see whether our obsession with social media can connect us back to nature. The digital world has an incredible power to attract massive audiences and I am determined to test its potential in championing some of the best environments the UK offers and raise awareness of its unique wildlife. Following a Zoology degree, I have pursued an MSc in Science Communication, believing there has not been a more important time to get people back outside and engaged in the natural world on our doorstep.

Starting in Cornwall’s northernmost point in Bude and aided by Ordnance Survey’s digital maps, I will be following the Cornish section of the famous South West Coast Path – Britain’s longest National Trail stretching from Minehead in Somerset, to Poole in Dorset. Consistently voted ‘Britain’s Best Walking Route’ and regularly featuring in lists of the world’s best walks – this is a true gem of superb heritage, wildlife, geology and coastal scenery. I will be documenting my journey online, taking photos and posting videos about the wildlife I encounter – hoping to engage an online audience as I explore this incredible landscape.

Cornwall likes to reward the intrepid and so the best views don’t come without a climb or two. I will be varying my distance each day, aiming to finish by the 2nd July. Deciding that 300 miles is enough of a challenge, I will be staying a variety of YHA’s, B&B’s and campsites along the footpath. Even the thought of such a distance makes me peckish and I have no doubt I will be well and truly spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat on route. Aside from the classic Cornish pasty, I’m looking forward to trying out many a Cornish pub. Tucked away in one of the UK’s most beautiful harbours, The Ship Inn in Mousehole is definitely on my list, and ticks all the boxes for Cornish character and charm.

The Cornish coastline has some of the most varied and dynamic habitats in the country – from ocean beaches, sand dunes, rugged cliff faces and heathland, all attracting a rich diversity of wildlife. I will be looking out for impressive bird life, such as gannets and puffins, to the steely-eyed peregrine falcons who frequently nest along protected areas of the coast. I am also excited to look out for marine mammals, the harbour porpoise and Atlantic grey seal are a given, but it’s the more elusive species I’m after, such as the Risso’s and common dolphin or perhaps even a basking shark or two if I’m lucky!

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Follow ‘Sophie’s Wild Cornwall’ here: https://spavelle.wixsite.com/wild-cornwall