Hiking on a Coastal Path
By Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.Org, 2015
A Hiking research project about coastal trails, hikers and coastlines combining a 2000km. / 1200 miles coast walk with studies and sketches to better understand how coast trails works, and what benefits we can gain if these trails are designed in better and more sustainable ways.
The coastlines all around the world are challenged in many ways, both by climate change, the growing cities, coastal populations, privatization, and also growing commercial interests and infra-structures, that seek to build industrial scale factories, facilities and connections as close to the sea as possible for easy logistics and also, for cheap, uncontrolled disposal of waste and sewage into the oceans.
Paths to make things better
On the other hand there is also good stories happening along the same coastlines, and one of the best is that more and more public trails and paths gets connected along the coastlines throughout the world, making it easier for both locals and city-dwellers to get closer to and to protect the healing and calming experiences of being close to the sea.
Part of this good story is that lately more and more governments, local community groups and hikers have started to work to secure the public access and protection of the coastlines through activities like donating coastal land to the commons, and by securing public access through legislation, trail-building and by maintaining and building new foot bridges, hikers lodges, maps and trail signs.
This project is both about a long walk to understand these changes, about research of existing knowledge from coast paths and trails around the world. But very important, it is also about finding new ways to create trails and secure sustainable relationships between us, the land and the oceans, through creating public foot-trails as public, green and accessible corridors for all, along the coastlines
My 1200 miles / 2000km. research walk along the coast
In April 2015, as part of my research on coast trails, I started out from where I live on foot, on a 2000km. / 1200 miles research walk along the Danish coastline, in sections. This coast hike will take me all around Denmark, to see, sketch and experience many different coastlines, challenges and kind of trails.
Text and Watercolor by Frits Ahefeldt, Hiking.org 2015