King Charles III England Coast Path – North West
From the Scottish Border to the Welsh Border this stretch of coast is a journey of contrasts
Find useful facts and learn more about the development of the King Charles III England Coast Path in the North West below. Select the blue tabs below left for more details.
The King Charles III England Coast Path is a new walking route that will follow the entire coast of England. For the first time people will have the right of access around all our open coast. This includes – where appropriate – many areas of land, other than the trail itself, which form part of the Coastal Margin.
The King Charles III England Coast Path will be the longest coastal walking route in the world when it is complete. In the North West, the following sections are open to the public (as of November 2023), with more to follow as they are completed:
You can also see open sections and find out about progress on other sections on the Natural England webpages at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/england-coast-path-in-the-north-west-of-england.
The King Charles III England Coast Path has been created under new legislation. In parts it follows existing public rights of way, but many sections are completely new and use a new right of access. Because of this it has different rules to public rights of way. Please make sure you obey any on-site signage. Read more about this in ‘What’s special about the Trail’ in the tabs on the left.
In most places you don’t have to stick to the path. Land to the seaward side of the trail, shaded pink on Ordnance Survey Maps is Coastal Margin. Much of this land has public access. Although you have the right to explore away from the path please use common sense – the King Charles III England Coast Path includes land that is steep, unstable and not readily accessible. Just because the map says you can go there doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.
For more information on what Coastal Margin, Coastal Access, and King Charles III England Coast Path mean, and what you can do where, please click here: Access Rights.
The King Charles III England Coast Path is much more than just a path. It has been created under new legislation. It allows access to the coast including the cliff tops and the beach. Everything to the seaward side of the path is designated as Coastal Margin. This gives you the right to walk off the path. You can see where this land is – it is shaded pink on the 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey maps.
Although you have the right to explore away from the path please use common sense – the King Charles III England Coast Path includes land that is steep, unstable and not readily accessible. Just because the map says you can go there doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.
But you don’t have the right to walk everywhere in the area shaded pink – the Coastal Margin includes:
The trail also has two further unique elements:
Long distance routes and National Trails are shown on Ordnance Survey maps with green diamonds (normal footpaths have a short green dashed line). In the North West the King Charles III England Coast Path replaces some long distance paths, giving a route that is closer to the coast in some places. The existing route may mean you have a choice in some places.
In the north west, the King Charles III England Coast Path links up with Hadrians Wall National Trail and Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail via the Wales Coast Path, which will itself link to the King Charles III England Coast Path near Chester as well as linking with other long distance paths.
Two lengths of King Charles III England Coast Path on the Solway Firth, bordering Scotland, opened in northern Cumbria. Walkers can now explore the route between Gretna and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, and between Brownrigg and Allonby. This joins the continuous stretch from Allonby to Green Road to form a complete route down the west coast of Cumbria, with just partial stretches of the Solway Firth and Morecambe Bay still to join in. The gap between Kirkandrews and Brownrigg will follow in due course, but in the meantime existing rights of access including the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail can be used to connect the two.
Meanwhile, approvals have been received from the Secretary of State for more stretches; we are now only awaiting news on two subsections of the Gretna to Allonby and Silecroft to Silverdale stretches.
The first stretch of path in Lancashire and Merseyside, under the brand new national name of King Charles III England Coast Path, opened between Tarleton, near Preston, and Liverpool’s Pier Head Mersey Ferry terminal. Adjacent stretches in Lancashire and the Wirral will join this stretch in due course.
The Silecroft to Green Road section of King Charles III England Coast Path opened in south west Cumbria. This completed the Copeland borough stretch, and extended the open sections south through Millom and along the Duddon Estuary to a convenient railway station finish.
A film was produced by the team, taking in highlights of the new stretch – and of the St Bees event in September 2021 – to celebrate the new stretch and everything that opened in the north west so far.
As of early 2022, this totals 81 miles in Cumbria, all the way from Allonby in the north west, to Green Road in the south west, and the circuit of Walney Island.
There are two versions of the film, including one with captions and British Sign Language interpretation. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUY8yTsd14M
The Whitehaven to Silecroft section of King Charles III England Coast Path opened in west Cumbria.
The launch party was delayed, due to the impact of a global pandemic. As the route was ready to open, it did so for local use and was a key addition to the local routes which we all valued so much during the l0ckdowns, but at the time it wasn’t appropriate to promote the new section nationally.
Instead, we recruited a team of local ‘ECP Pioneers’ who walked the route in small groups and shared their photos, video clips and thoughts with us. You can see some of these in the Feb 2022 film linked above!
We made up for this in September 2021, with a celebration event in St Bees, bringing together stakeholders and representatives. With a focus on accessibility, we loved hearing from our guest speakers Debbie North from Access the Dales and Mohammed Dhalech from Mosaic Outdoors, and enjoyed chips and ice cream by the sea on a sunny (if breezy) day.
Proposals published for the final north west stretches between Cleveleys in Lancashire, and the Welsh border near Chester. As of early 2022, these are partially approved.
The Walney Island section of the King Charles III England Coast Path opened, off Barrow in Furness. A launch event was held at West Point House accommodation providers, with many thanks to Heather and John for their generosity and ongoing support! The barrier island is connected to the mainland by road bridge over the narrow Walney Channel, and in due course, the Walney King Charles III England Coast Path will connect to the continuous mainland route. Proposals for that section were made in January 2020 and are awaiting approval by the Secretary of State.
Proposals published for Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary; as of early 2022 these are partially approved, with one short stretch open (see above).
The team at Natural England and Cumbria County Council work hard behind the scenes developing proposals across multiple counties in the north west and preparing to carry out establishment works on approved stretches.
Proposals published for Walney Island (opened 2020) and Gretna to Allonby, which as of early 2022 is partially approved.
The team at Natural England is expanded following government announcements that more funding was being made available.
The Allonby to Whitehaven stretch of King Charles III England Coast Path opened, the second in the country after Weymouth, which was opened in 2012 in time for the Olympic sailing events.
You can find further details, watch videos and browse photos on the trail's route description page
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