The England Coast Path will be a brand new National Trail all around England’s coastline. When completed it will be one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world at 2,795 miles long! Wales is also working on a similar project so it’s exciting times for open access to the coastline and great news for keen coastal walkers. Although not quite finished, work is well underway with stretches of the Coast Path in Somerset and Norfolk recently getting the green light and new coast path stretches now open along the Tees Valley/ Durham Heritage Coast in the North East and the Cumbrian Coast in the North West. The Coast Path along the North Kent Coast is currently in progress, with the stretch from Ramsgate to Whitstable open, and the path from Whitstable to Sheerness to Dartford and into central London currently being worked on.
Changes to Open Access
A real trigger in instigating the new England Coast Path National Trail were the new rights of access which came into effect across England in October 2005. It effectively meant we all had a new right of access to explore our coastline. The new National Trail will not only be a walking path, it will also afford access to beaches, cliff-tops and surrounding coastal habitats. Find out more about sections already opened and those opening over the next few years on the National Trails website and Natural England website. New Coastal Access rights also include something called ‘roll back’ which means if the path is eroded, it will be moved back on the new coastline. Some restricted access will apply to sensitive habitats, land owned by the Ministry of Defence and private houses and gardens.
Coastal Stretches Opening in 2015/16
Coastal stretches forecast to open in 2015/16 include the North West’s classic seaside coast from Liverpool in the south up to Barrow-in-Furness in the north, passing Southport and Blackpool en-route. The Coast Path running along the magnificent Northumberland Heritage Coast will open in 2015/16 – this stretch takes in iconic landmarks such as Holy Island and some of Britain’s most beautiful seascapes at Amble, Alnmouth and Druridge Bay.