Walking the Southwest Coastal Path

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Day 5
Woolacombe to Braunton; 14.8 miles

Our day started with a beach walk of about 2.5 miles, leaving Woolacombe in the morning by walking right out onto the beach in front of our accommodations. Coupled to another 5-6 mile stretch of beach walking further on between Saunton (Saunton Sands) and the Broadsands (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) our day was mostly contained to the sandy shore. It is difficult to imagine beaches so untouched and unspoiled in the USA outside of a few places. That these shores are so open and available to all speaks to a far different relationship to the land than what we experience back along the New England shores. Encroachment in part always seems

IMG_7018inevitable, and due vigilance is always warranted we suspect, but this kind of open space and access back home would be so privatized and cordoned off that the public would be hard pressed to have an experience of it. Perhaps when you have less of something you cherish it more? Perhaps the more you have, the more somebody wants to claim it and own it for themselves?
We would be tempted to challenge our country by saying “trump that”, but under present circumstance it doesn’t seem fitting at all.

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All in all it was a day of coastal walking characterized by a sense of unbounded freedom. Water, clouds, sand, and wind were the main characters upon a stage which sent our senses soaring to new perambulating heights this day; difficult to be so self absorbed with self interests when in the presence of such natural gifts as these open spaces. On days such as these the concept of private property makes little sense at all!

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