The England Coast Path is opening in sections. Open sections are described here. The path aims to stay as close to the coast as possible. In many places that means you will be walking right alongside the coast. In some places the path heads inland, usually only for short distances. The open sections of the path are well signed, look out for the distinctive acorn waymarkers. Away from towns and villages you will usually find the path has a natural, unmade surface, some areas will get muddy in wet weather. Closer to where people live you might find smooth surfaced paths, and in towns and villages you may be walking on promenades or pavements alongside roads.
Skegness to Mablethorpe
The 11th stretch of the England Coast Path to open is in Lincolnshire between the two traditional seaside resorts of Skegness and Mablethorpe – 16 miles (26 km) of constantly changing coastline.
A new boardwalk now links two promenades by the purpose-built North Sea Observatory at Chapel Point, Chapel St Leonards, improving accessibility for all. Open all year round, the Observatory is a great place to find out more about coastal wildlife, offering facilities such as exhibitions, art space and a café.
The flat landscape shaped by the Ice Ages has an amazing ‘sea and skyscape’. Winter is often the best time of year with more clouds and large flocks of birds flying over the land and sea. Did you know the world’s first official cloud spotting area is at Anderby Creek Cloud Bar in the Coastal Country Park?
Many beaches with excellent bathing water, like Moggs Eye, and smaller towns and villages such as Sutton-on-Sea can all be explored on a high quality, uninterrupted walking route.
Wildlife thrives on the wilder areas of coast like Anderby Creek in the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park. Dunes shaped by the wind and sea are home to special plants, birds and insects and a great backdrop for bracing walks. In winter the beaches are home to large flocks of winter waders such as sanderling and oystercatcher. In spring flocks of pink-footed geese move along the coast and flocks of golden plover and lapwing can be spotted on adjacent farmland.
A submerged forest (Site of Special Scientific Interest) dating from the Neolithic Period (4 – 6,000 years ago) is occasionally visible at very low tides at Chapel Six Marshes and Wolla Bank.
The big skies and special qualities of the Lincolnshire coast have inspired creative art and architecture. Take a peek at some 21stcentury beach huts or ‘bathing beauties’
South Bents and Amble
The tenth section of the England Coast Path to open provides walkers, amblers and ramblers with uninterrupted access to 44 miles (71 km) of beautiful coastline between South Bents and Amble in Tyneside and Northumberland.
People will be able to explore the coast around the river Tyne and into Northumberland, linking the wild beaches and dunes of Druridge Bay to seaside resorts such as Whitley Bay and ports like North Shields further south.
The new path takes account of the area’s important coastal habitats. An example of this is on the north bank of the river Blyth where the route avoids sensitive bird roosting areas.
For any fans of the TV detective series ‘Vera’, some of the places the path passes through are often featured – Whitley Bay, St Mary’s Island and Cresswell.
Souter Lighthouse in South Tyneside is owned and managed by the National Trust. Built in 1871, it was the first in the world to run on electricity. It sits on a grassy cliff of rare magnesianlimestone and provides stunning views across the local nature reserve and the mouth of the river Tyne.
Other places of interest which walkers may come across along the stretch are:
Arbeia Roman Fort at South Shields. Standing above the entrance to the River Tyne, Arbeia South Shields’ Roman Fort guarded the main sea route to Hadrian’s Wall. It was a key garrison and military supply base to other forts along the Wall and is an important part of the history of Roman Britain. Stories are brought to life at Arbeia through a variety of events and displays including gladiator battles, falconry displays, Roman re-enactments, storytelling and more.
Shields Ferry – crosses the Tyne and links up South Shields to North Shields.
Tynemouth Castle and Priory were once one of the largest fortified areas in England. Overlooking the North Sea and the River Tyne, it dominates the headland. With its 2000 year history and beautiful views it is the perfect location for a family fun day out. A popular spot to enjoy seaside fish and chips with a view and great location to have a picnic, lie back and enjoy the sea air.
Spanish City – a huge regeneration project on the sea front for residents & visitors at Whitley Bay due to open Summer 2018.
St Mary’s Lighthouse – reached between the tides via a short causeway, St. Mary’s Lighthouse at Whitley Bay has all the fascination of a miniature, part-time island.
Blyth Beach – famous for its 20 brightly coloured beach huts, South Beach at Blyth is a beautiful stretch of golden sand.
Kitty Brewster bridge – where new steps have been built to improve access.
Weir crossing has been opened up at River Wansbeck
Lynemouth power station – new access has been negotiated in front of the power station!
Creswell Pond Nature Reserve – a large brackish lagoon that has been created as the result of subsidence from old collapsed mine works. As the pond is adjacent to and connected to the sea, it has developed into a shallow brackish lagoon, providing excellent feeding for wading birds all year round.
Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge, Middlesbrough
This 68 mile long stretch is the longest part of the England Coast Path yet to be opened and runs from the dramatic cliffs of the North Yorkshire coast, through the resorts of Scarborough, Whitby, Saltburn and Redcar into the heavily populated and industrial heart of Middlesbrough. The trail connects the communities of Teesside with their beautiful open coast, with its beaches, small fishing villages and remote cliff tops.
Part of this stretch comprises the coastal part of the existing Cleveland Way National Trail. The main advantage for the coastal sections of this existing National Trail becoming part of the England Coast Path is the ability of the path to adapt to coastal erosion via “rollback”. This is new legislation, associated with the England Coast Path, ensures that the path will be available for walkers in perpetuity – a major plus for this spectacular, but crumbling coast.
You will find the path is waymarked as the Cleveland Way, and also the England Coast Path.
Durham, Hartlepool and Sunderland
The 34 mile (55 Km) Durham Hartlepool and Sunderland section follows the Durham Heritage Coast. This coast was devastated by the mining industry throughout the 20th century. The closure of the mines in the early 1990s changed the area dramatically, resulting in high levels of unemployment and poverty. However the reduction in industry has had a positive impact on the coast which has been restored through the Turning the Tide Project and now is a rich natural and cultural asset, important to the region’s economy and well being.
The scenery and wildlife make this coast special. The area is famous for its wildflowers. If you’re looking to explore the section in the North East make sure you don’t miss out on the retro Lickety Split Creamery in Seaham for the best ever icecream sundaes!
It’s not all flowers and ice cream though. Hartlepool has always been an important maritime town and still is to this day. Tourists can enjoy the new marina, the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, and heritage trails around the town.
Sunderland’s history is tied to the sea and ship building. Today the city is popular for shopping and is home to the fascinating National Glass Centre as well as many other attractions, including the Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC.