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Introducing the Trail

Find useful facts and learn more about the England Coast Path in the South West below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.

About the Trail

The 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 – any land, other than the trail itself, which forms part of the Coastal Margin. The path is being opened in sections but will, when completed, be the longest coastal path in the world.

The 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.

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 England Coast Path includes land that is steep, unstable and not readily accessible. Just because the maps says you can go there doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.

There are route descriptions in the Further Information section of this website.

At the moment you can only walk some sections. The open sections are shown on the interactive map. As new sections open they will be added to the website maps. You can also see open sections and find out about progress on other sections on the gov.uk website.

In the South West, the following sections are open to the public (as of July 2019):

What is special about the Trail?

The England Coast will be the longest coastal walking route in the world when it is complete.

The 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.

But, although the land is shaded pink, you don’t have the right to walk everywhere – the Coastal Margin includes land:

  • where access rights don’t apply, for example cropped land, buildings and their curtilage (the land immediately surrounding them), and gardens. This land is called ‘excepted land’. You don’t have the right to walk on excepted land. You can see a full list of excepted land here.
  • that is subject to local restrictions including many areas of saltmarsh and mud flats that are not suitable for public access.
  • that is steep, unstable and not readily accessible.

How does the England Coast Path relate to other National Trails?

In some places the existing National Trail, or part of it, will become part of the England Coast Path as well, for example the South West Coast Path, Norfolk Coast Path and the coastal part of the Cleveland Way. In this case you will see signs on the ground for the existing Trail, but also some ‘part of the England Coast Path’ signs.

There are benefits to the existing National Trails becoming part of the England Coast Path as it makes it much quicker for the Trail managers to resolve any problems due to erosion. It also means that you are able to walk in the Coastal Margin.

You might find in some places the line of the existing National Trail is different to the line of the England Coast Path – in that case you can choose which one to take.

Holiday Inspiration

Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the England Coast Path – South West.

Latest News

Visit our News Page for the latest interesting and exciting news on the England Coast Path National Trail

Events

Take a look at our Events Calendar to find details of the enjoyable events that are taking place along the trail. If you want, you can even add your own events.

History, heritage and hidden gems

Discover something new to explore every step of the way, from natural icons and historic attractions to coastal towns and villages…

Create your own trip

Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.