The Coast to Coast is to become a new National Trail.

The Coast to Coast long distance walk has been a firm favourite with hikers since it was first described by Alfred Wainwright in 1973. It starts at St Bees on the west coast and runs through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, ending at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. Natural England estimate that around 6,000 people a year walk the whole route, but many more enjoy sections of it as day walks.

In August 2022 the Secretary of State approved Natural England’s proposals to upgrade the Coast to Coast to a National Trail. Natural England will work alongside partners to improve the popular route, with £5.6 million committed to upgrade the 197-mile path. The announcement, which delivers on a Government commitment to develop the route, will also ensure long-term support for the National Trail.

But what does that mean? What difference does being a National Trail make?

There are 16 existing National Trails including the King Charles III England Coast Path which is being opened in sections. The Coast to Coast will increase that number to 17.

National Trails are special – they are the best long-distance routes in England and Wales, and so it is right that the Coast to Coast is joining the family. National Trails receive funding from government and are managed to an agreed set of Quality Standards by local authorities working through Trail Partnerships. Work is underway to bring the Coast to Coast up to National Trail standard, with the opening planned for late 2025.

There are many benefits of being a National Trail. The additional support and funding means that work can be carried out to:

  • Install better signage and visitor information. This includes signposts that show destinations and distances, and signs to help walkers find local services such as shops, cafés and transport hubs.
  • Improve access for everyone through investigating access opportunities for people with reduced mobility and alternative routes for cyclists and horse riders.
  • Improve the habitats around the trail to better support wildlife.
  • Engage with local residents and people living alongside the trail so that everyone understands the value of having a National Trail on their doorstep.
  • Support local businesses and ensure they have the information and contacts that they need to make the best of the business presented by having National Trail walkers passing through.

These activities are already happening on the existing National Trails.