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01/09/2017

World's Longest Coastal Footpath 'One Step Closer'

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The longest coastal walking route in the world is 'one step closer' as work officially begins along the entire stretch of the England Coast Path.

Natural England is working on 100% of the 2,700 mile walking route, which when completed will allow people to explore new and improved routes along the entire length of the English coastline – taking in iconic sights like the White Cliffs of Dover, the beaches of Norfolk and the picturesque North Yorkshire coast.

England's spectacular coastline already attracts 300 million visits a year, with people spending up to three times more than at any other holiday destination.

And with the South West stretch already worth £400 million to the economy, by offering new and improved access to some of the country's best tourist hot spots, the England Coast Path will bring a huge boost to tourism – an industry already worth £106 billion.

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Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: "We have some of the most spectacular coastland in the world, with iconic sites such as the White Cliffs at Dover and the picturesque beaches at Whitby attracting millions of tourists and walkers every year.

"The England Coast Path is a hugely significant project – helping people across the country to access our stunning coastline and providing a significant boost to the economy of our coastal communities.

"By working closely with landowners, farmers and local communities, we are well on track to creating the world's longest coastal path by 2020."

Natural England's Chairman Andrew Sells added: "We are now working on all sections of our beautiful and varied coastline so the ability to walk the longest, continuous coastal walking route in the world is on the horizon.

"I'm extremely proud of the strides we have taken to reach this point. We will continue to work closely with landowners, communities and local authorities to create the best possible route, to bring more people closer to nature, and benefit local economies."

So far Natural England has opened just over 300 miles of coastline, helping thousands of people access some of England's most spectacular coastal scenery.

The new routes link up the best existing coastal paths, create new ones where there were none before, and in some cases move paths nearer the sea so walkers have a better opportunity to properly enjoy the country's coastal views and beaches.

Most recently, routes have opened in North Yorkshire and Norfolk, with further stretches set to open in Kent, the north east and Cumbria over the coming months.

(MH)

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