Work is due to start on the Northumberland stretch of the England Coast Path, which is set to become the longest managed and waymarked coastal path in the world.
The 2,795-mile route will follow the coastline of England and Wales and is due to open in 2020. It will pass stunning beaches, castles, fishing villages, famous seaside resorts and dramatic landscape features, offering walkers the opportunity to experience some of the country’s most varied coastline.
In Northumberland the coastal path will follow a route from the Scottish Borders right down the coastline via Berwick and Bamburgh and on to Seaton Sluice.
Northumberland County Council will carry out the work to establish the path and will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance. Natural England will fund the establishment of the route and 75 per cent of the ongoing maintenance costs.
Work on the first section of the route between Seaton Sluice and Amble is to commence over the coming weeks. An initial grant of £149,250 has been awarded to the county council by Natural England to cover these costs.
Northumberland County Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for the environment and local services, said: “This new path will be a great addition to those who already know our superb coastline but it will open up new opportunities for visitors who want to explore the wonderful assets we have in our county.
“The path will also help draw in additional visitors all year round and help provide a boost to local businesses along its length.”
The new route will, where possible, link into the existing Northumberland Coastal Path, but sections will need to be added to allow it to directly follow the coastline of the county.
The Seaton Sluice to Amble stretch of the route has already been agreed by the Secretary of State and was proposed by Natural England following extensive research and consultation with landowners and the county council. It will follow existing pathways on council land and recorded highways and footways and so only minor work such as the installation of gates and signage is needed.
Work is ongoing with the planning of other sections of the route in the county. New stretches of grass pathway will need to be created between Newbiggin and Lynemouth and between Cresswell and Druridge.
A further two sections of the Northumberland route – Amble to Bamburgh and Bamburgh to the Scottish Borders – are still in the research and consultation phase.