Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria is along the Coast to Coast route. Credit: via Natural England

Coast to Coast walk to become National Trail, secures £5.6m for upgrades

Alfred Wainwright’s popular 197-mile route from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hoods Bay in North York Moors National Park will receive long-term support from the government.

This support translates to the installation of accessible gates, signage and waymarking, as well as path surfaces. As a National Trail, the government will help local authorities maintain the route. Shorter circular paths that incorporate the trial will also be developed, so that the path can be more accessible for those looking for a shorter journey.

The entirety of the Coast to Coast path will also be recorded on Ordnance Survey maps for the first time.

Natural England will explore creating 9.7 miles of public footpath for the trail and nine miles of public bridleway. The organisation will also consider plans to realign five miles of existing rights of way for the trail.

Part of the £5.6m the government is committing to the trail will include creating a community engagement programme to help local businesses maximise the economic and health benefits of the path.

The trail improvements will take three years to implement and will involve Natural England working with the Lake District, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Cumbria and North Yorkshire county councils will also assist the effort.

Marian Spain, chief executive of Natural England, described the work on the Coast to Coast path as a “turning point for national trail development”.

“It will be the first national trail where delivery of the social and economic benefits for users and communities will be built in from the start,” Spain said.

“Once established the Coast to Coast National Trail will allow many different types of users, with a range of abilities and backgrounds, to connect with nature on this iconic walking route whilst also bringing the benefits of tourism and other business to communities along the trail,” she continued.

Lord Richard Benyon, minister for rural affairs, shared his support for the Coast to Coast path’s new status.

“The Coast to Coast route passes through some of our most spectacular countryside, villages and natural habitats so I’m delighted to approve these plans and deliver on our manifesto commitment to develop the route into a new National Trail,” he said.

“With over £5 million of new funding to upgrade the path, local business and communities will be able to secure real benefits from the sustainable tourism this route offers. I look forward to seeing the route go from strength to strength and leave a lasting legacy across the North of England.”

Around 6,000 people are estimated to walk the entire Coast to Coast trail every year, according to Natural England. The organisation said that those visitors generate around £7m for the local economy.

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Great to see. A fantastic trail which crosses 3 national parks. Making accessible to more people by adding circular routes is also a great idea.

By Alfred

It would be great to have paths that are fully accessible that I could take my partner on in her wheelchair/scooter. I totally understand that you can’t make every where fully accessible (imagine trying to form a ramp up a mountain side…) but the circular trail idea sounds promising.

By Aevis

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