Skip to main content

Route Description

The England Coast Path is opening in sections. The open sections in the south west 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. Much of the path in this region will follow the existing South West Coast Path, but there also new sections with extended rights of way opening for you to enjoy.

Sand Bay to Brean Cross Sluice

This is the first section of the trail in North Somerset to be opened. The local name for this part of the England Coast Path is the North Somerset Tidal Trail. The route begins in Beach Road car park at Sand Bay and takes you through the edge of Weston Wood to reach Weston-super-Mare where the trail joins the beach front promenade. Leaving Weston-super-Mare, the route goes through Uphill Boat Yard to reach the sandy beaches and salt marshes of of Bleadon Levels before reaching Brean Cross Sluice where the trail crosses the River Axe in Somerset.

Brean Cross Sluice to Minehead

This section takes in 62 miles of the beautiful and diverse coast of Somerset. On clear days the fortified promontory of Brean Down offers panoramic views back to Brean Cross Sluice and ahead to Minehead, enabling you to view the entire England Coast Path in Somerset. From Brean, the path takes you past Berrow Dunes to Burnham-on-Sea, along the flood-banks of the River Parrett to Bridgwater and back to Steart Point and the Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve, before heading along the open coast to Hinkley Point. At Hinkley look for diversion signs while development work is taking place.

Once past Hinkley Point, the diverse beach and cliff formations from Lilstock to Blue Anchor are classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and offer an outstanding series of sections through our geological past. On reaching the old port town of Watchet, the route shadows the West Somerset Railway through Blue Anchor and Dunster to end in Minehead, where it joins the South West Coast Path.

For more detailed information head to our Brean Down to Minehead itinerary.

At Brean, Burnham, St Audries and Helwell Bay, please check tide times as the path can be flooded during high tides.

At Brean Cross Sluice and Steart Marshes, please check the Seasonal closures section for route diversions put in place to protect local bird populations in these areas.

Portland to Lulworth Cove

The very first section of England Coast Path to open was the section from Portland, past Weymouth to Lulworth Cove. This section was opened for the 2012 Olympics to allow people access to the coast to watch the sailing competitions.

Weymouth is famous for its beautiful sandy beach which slopes gently into the sea making it perfect for families. It’s the ideal place to enjoy a day of sun and swimming and of course, the sand is perfect for making sand castles. If your sandcastles are in need of a bit of inspiration you could visit Sandworld and see the amazing sand sculptures on display.

When you have had enough of sand you could explore the lovingly restored Nothe Fort with its stunning view across the Jurassic Coast (quick look for fossils on the way). No trip to Weymouth would be complete without a visit to Portland, via the natural phenomenon of Chesil Beach with its new visitor centre. There are great walks to experience on Portland with fantastic views all round.