Coastal scene on the England Coast Path

England Coast Path

What is the England Coast Path?

The England Coast Path will be a new National Trail all around England's coast. It's opening in sections and will be complete in 2020. When it is complete it will be be one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world. You can see a map showing progress here.

The England Coast Path is happening because of a completely new right of access that gives everyone the legal right to explore our coast for the very first time. It is much more than just a path, it gives access to beaches, cliff-tops, and most of the wonderful habitats around our coast. You can see the open sections and how they relate to the other National Trails here.

Coastal sections of existing National Trails will become part of the England Coast Path in time. This will give the Trails better protection when the coast erodes. The Trails won't lose their own identities though, they will still be National Trails in their own right and the signage will be the same, but you may see new signs saying 'part of the England Coast Path'.

There is also a Wales Coast Path - you can find out about that on the Wales Coast Path website. The Wales Coast Path isn't a National Trail.


What is special about the England Coast Path?

England’s coastline is spectacularly beautiful, rich in wildlife and hugely popular.

None of us lives more than 75 miles from it and as a nation we make over 70 million trips a year to enjoy it. We love walking along it but at the moment we don't have a right to explore most of our nation’s coastline. Once complete the England Coast Path will provide clear, well-managed access to the whole coast – whether you want a short stroll or a more challenging hike.

The really exciting thing about coastal access is that it is much more than just a path, although at 2,795 miles (4,500 kilometres) long we think that is pretty exciting!

The new right of Coastal Access brings in 'roll back' meaning that if a section of coast erodes or slips the path isn't lost, it simply moves back with the new coastline.

And of course one of the great joys of the coast is exploring the beaches, cliff-tops and headlands. For the very first time, under coastal access, this will be a legal right.

Not everywhere will be accessible though. You won't have any rights to enter private houses and gardens or Ministry of Defence land. Sensitive habitats will also be protected. Some parts of the path may be closed to allow for repair or other works, the coastal margin may also be subject to restrictions. You can see maps of what is accessible and any restrictions here.

Find out more

To find out more visit the government information website.

Scenes from the England Coast Path