WALK IT NOW!

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Discover -

IF YOU’RE ITCH­ING to get out and walk the new ECP, seven stretches are al­ready open. In the north-west, you can coast 22 miles from Al­lonby to White­haven in Cum­bria, while in the south-west there’s 58 miles through Som­er­set from Brean Down to Mine­head, and 20 in Dorset from Ru­fus Cas­tle on the Isle of Port­land to the al­most-per­fect-cir­cle of Lul­worth Cove. In the south-east you can edge 66 miles from the golden sands of Cam­ber in East Sus­sex to the buzzing har­bour of Rams­gate in Kent. Nor­folk’s open trail stretches 47 miles from Hop­ton-on-Sea to Wey­bourne, and fur­ther up the east coast there are 102 miles ready be­tween Fi­ley Brigg and South Bents, with an 8-mile gap from New­port Bridge to North Gare that’s set to open this year.

A fur­ther 590 miles are sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2018, in­clud­ing two islands: Wal­ney in Cum­bria (21 miles) and Mersea in Es­sex (12 miles). Cum­bria gets an­other 32 miles from White­haven to Sile­croft, and out east the ECP will grow 43 miles north from South Bents to Am­ble, hit­ting Northum­ber­land for the first time. Lin­colnshire should also see its first bit, with 16 miles from Skeg­ness to Mablethorpe.

Down south, the Som­er­set path ex­tends into Devon on a 35-mile sec­tion across the north of Ex­moor from Mine­head to Combe Mar­tin, and fos­sil hun­ters can tread 68 miles from Kingswear to Lyme Regis on the Juras­sic Coast and 48 miles from Lul­worth Cove to High­cliffe. There will be 51 miles from Cal­shot in the New For­est to Portsmouth, 91 miles from South Hayling to Shore­ham, and 97 miles from Rams­gate to Grain, on the re­mote tip of Kent’s Hoo Penin­sula.

And Es­sex, the county with the long­est coast­line in Eng­land, gets 37 miles from Jay­wick to Har­wich and an­other 39 from Burn­ham-on-Crouch to Mal­don, home of the fa­mous sea salt.

You might spot that some of those stretches are al­ready part of a shore­hug­ging trail like the South West Coast Path, but work still needs do­ing to add them to the of­fi­cial ECP sta­ble and map the coastal mar­gin. Keep up to date at www.gov.uk and on the in­ter­ac­tive maps at www.na­tion­al­trail.co.uk/ eng­land-coast-path, where you can also add pho­tos and rec­om­men­da­tions from your coastal ad­ven­ture.

TRY THE TRAIL

Main im­age: Sand­send Beach near Whitby on the long stretch of open path along Eng­land’s north-east coast. Left: Mark­ing the way around the vast shin­gle spit of Dun­geness in Kent and above: An am­monite fos­sil at Som­er­set’s Kilve Beach, a sea-dweller here mil­lions of years ago.

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