Coastal path boost for rural economy

A new stretch of recently opened coastal path will benefit the rural economy, says the government.

Natural England opened the latest stretch of the England Coast Path, giving walkers uninterrupted access to 44 miles of coastline between South Bents and Amble in north-east England.

Walkers will be able to explore the coast around the river Tyne and into Northumberland, linking the beaches and dunes of Druridge Bay to the resorts and ports further south.

The South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Northumberland stretch is the tenth section of Natural England’s flagship England Coast Path project to open.

It offers local shops, pubs and hotels the opportunity to benefit from the £381m spent each year by visitors to English coastal paths.

It coincides with new data from Natural England, showing that over 29 million leisure walking trips took place on English coastal paths in 2017 – supporting over 6,000 full time jobs.

Rural minister Lord Gardiner said: “The England Coast Path is already playing a significant role in opening up access to our most spectacular sites, ensuring sensitivity to the environment while making a valuable contribution to our rural economy.

“With Northumberland home to some of the country’s most breath-taking coastal scenery, the new path makes it easy for all to access this beautiful area.”

Natural England is working to establish a 2,700-mile path around the entire English coastline and work is now under way on all of the route.

Natural England chairman Andrew Sells said the latest section of coastal path was a significant milestone towards creating the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world.

When completed, the coastal path will also become a National Trail – ranking it among the nation’s finest and most popular long-distance paths.


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