The England Coast Path will be a 2,700 mile National Trail around the whole of the English coast. It will link up the best existing coastal paths and create new ones where there were none before. There will also be new public rights of access to areas of coastal land such as beaches, cliffs and foreshore.
401 miles of the path are already open to the public. A further 755 miles is approved and undergoing construction works before the new access rights come into place.
Opening access to the coast is part of the government’s ambition to connect people with nature and is key to the 25 year environment plan.
By improving access to the coast, the England Coast Path is expected to bring significant benefits to:
local economies and communities
enable users to experience, recognise and value the benefits of our environment
Over 29 million leisure walking trips took place on English coastal paths in 2017. Over £379 million is spent in the national economy as a result of trips to use English coastal paths, of which £350 million is spent within local coastal economies.
This is estimated to support 5,900 full time jobs in local coastal economies.
Progress on the path slowed as a result of:
the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
a European Court judgement that affected how Natural England could assess the impact of coast path proposals on protected sites.
The next stretch of the path to open will be Whitehaven to Silecroft in the north west, in early 2021. Natural England hope to have all stretches approved and with establishment works underway by the end of 2021.