Dorset Woman Walks 5000 Miles Around the Coast of Great Britain

A 45 year old woman whose family lives in Okeford Fitzpaine, has set herself a year long challenge to walk around the coast of Great Britain in order to raise money for two homelessness charities.

Claire Allen set out from John O’ Groats in Northern Scotland on 8th August 2023 and has completed approximately a third of the distance so far. She’s aiming to raise £25,000 – split equally between two charities – Only A Pavement Away and Shelter.

Claire said: “For me, spending a year away from home, staying somewhere different every night, is a choice. But there are thousands of people who have no option but to sleep on the streets or stay somewhere unsafe or insecure.

Inspired by others who’ve completed this coastal challenge – including Elise Downing who became the first woman to run the distance, and Christian Lewis, who recently completed his six year odyssey, Claire has taken a year out of her work as communications and fundraising professional in Bristol’s charity sector.

Homelessness is a crisis that none of us can ignore. It’s visible in every town and city. Along the way, I’ve met people that are homeless and rough sleeping and none of them have chosen that life. Losing your home could be down to something as commonplace as a marriage break up, becoming unemployed, or falling out with your family.

Carrying all her belongings, she’s been joined by friends and family along the way who’ve walked with her for a day or two at a time. As well as camping, she’s relied on the kindness of strangers for a bed and a meal – including B&Bs and hotels who’ve generously offered her a free stay.

I’ve never been homeless, and I hope I never will be. But having no fixed abode opens your eyes to the importance of access to basic facilities – drinking water, public toilets, warm spaces to sit. I’ve spent a lot of time in public libraries, railway station waiting rooms because they’re warm, dry and free.

Having taken a break from walking to spend Christmas with her family, Claire set off again on Friday 5th January. The next stage of her walk will see her tackle the South West Coast Path – 630 miles that stretch from Poole to Minehead.

As well as support from hotels and guest houses, Claire has received support from outdoor clothing brand Inov-8 who’ve provided her with top of the range walking boots (she’s currently on her third pair!) and the Alpkit Foundation who made a grant of £250 towards the cost of equipment.

To follow Claire’s progress:


To donate to either Shelter or Only a Pavement Away: