Natural England have announced that the latest stretch of the England Coastal Path has been approved. The Secretary of State has given the green light for work to begin on 55 miles of the Somerset coastline between Brean Down and Minehead.
Following in the footsteps of the popular Wales Coastal path, completed in 2012 and covering 870 miles of coastline, the England Coast Path aims to create a clearly marked, well-managed route around the country’s cliffs and beaches. Signs, gates and footbridges will be designed to create an easy to use path that, when completed, will create a walking route around the entire English coast, totaling 2796 miles and making it the longest National Trail in England.
New rights of way allowing access to previously off-limits beaches and cliff tops will be implemented when the path is finished, opening up the entire coastline to walkers and tourists and helping local businesses thrive.
Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “This move will unlock the beautiful Somerset coastline to visitors from all over the country as well local residents and international tourists and we look forward to the economic benefit that it will bring to the county. We have been working closely with the landowners and Natural England to make sure that development of the path is managed as sensitively as possible.”
A section of the Norfolk coastline has already been approved for creation this year, and stretches of Cumbria and Durham’s coastlines opened in Easter 2014.