Some of Somerset’s most spectacular coastline is open to the public for the first time today following the official unveiling of 58 miles of new and improved coast path.
The new stretch, following two thirds of the county’s coast from Brean Down to Minehead, represents a significant step towards the creation of an England Coast Path. The longest section to be added to the national route so far, it was opened by Natural England’s chairman, Andrew Sells, at a ceremony in Doniford.
Natural England is currently establishing a 2700-mile continuous path around the entire English coastline by 2020. Work is already under way on more than half the path, described by Andrew Sells as “The most significant rights of way project for a generation”.
Speaking in Doniford today, Sells said: “The England Coast Path is a fabulous legacy for our great island nation and I’m delighted to open this new stretch in Somerset. For the first time, people will be able to walk the length of Somerset’s coast along a high-quality footpath and enjoy some stunning new views and coastal wildlife. Visits to the coast remain one of our most popular activities and are worth millions of pounds to our regional economies.”
Approval for the new stretch in Somerset was granted by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss.