England's Coast Path will cover 2,800 miles of seashore

October 18, 2018, 10:51 a.m.
The South West Coast Path, a 630-mile-long (1,010 kilometers) trail, will be part of the England Coast Path.
Photo: Andrew Bone/Wikimedia Commons

Taking a tour of the English coast will soon be as easy as going for a walk, albeit a very long one.

The England Coast Path is a walking trail expected to cover 2,795 miles (4,500 kilometers) once it's completed in 2020. The path is a collection of new and established trails that will start along the southwest coast, near Bristol, and then travel along the country's south and southeastern coasts before moving north and around the country's tip, all the way down to near Liverpool.

The trail, implemented by a non-governmental advisory agency, Natural England, came about as a result of a 2009 access act that granted everyone the right to walk on and explore the country's coast. Prior to the act, only half of England's coast was accessible to the public, according to a 2016 report from The Guardian.

Since then, Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have negotiated with local landowners, farmers and other interest groups to develop the trails necessary to accommodate walkers and to accommodate various stipulations, like avoiding being too close to gardens or Ministry of Defense sites. Factor in needing to account for erosion, and the project has taken considerable time. The established trails are receiving update signage as a result of the plans. In total, 66 paths are in various stages of completion as of late September.

The South West Coast Path (pictured above), which covers 630 miles of coastline, is one of the 11 established trails that will be folded into the English Coast Path. Before the plan for the England Coast Path was hatched, the South West Coast Path was the longest footpath in the country. This path alone generates an estimated $393 million (£300 million) a year for the regional economy, so it's hoped a trail stretching along more of England's coast will have a similar benefit to other regions.

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