A new 90km section of the England Coast Path was opened in Somerset just in time for the Easter break.
There will now be a continuous coast path along most of the Somerset coast from Brean Down to Minehead, via Bridgwater, along both banks of the River Parrett. This new section of coast path will connect to the popular South West Coast Path in Minehead and also follows some of the current route of the West Somerset Coast Path.
Natural England, with the support of Somerset County Council has also begun work on the next section of the Coast Path from Brean Down to the Severn Bridge. Once this stretch is open it will connect the England Coast Path to the Wales Coast Path. Exmoor National Park Authority will work with Natural England on the 20km section from Minehead west to the county boundary with Devon.
Natural England expect the proposed path along the North Somerset coastline to be complete in two year’s time.
A spokesperson for natural England said: “We are currently working closely with the local authority, landowners and legal interests along the coast of North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire between Brean Down and Aust.
“We will publish our proposals for a route along this stretch of coast later this year. People will be able to make formal representations and objections about the route before the Secretary of State makes a decision and physical works can start on the ground. Taking all this into account, we would expect the route to be formally opened in 2018.”
With 1 million more visitors spending an additional £86.7m in the region’s tourism businesses, the South West Coast Path is clearly a valuable asset to help grow the region’s economy and is responsible for the employment of 10,610 full time equivalent jobs.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council said; “We are extremely happy to be launching the new section of Coast Path. We know how popular they are with both locals and those new or visiting the region, and hope this new path will prove to be a draw for tourists.”
“Supporting the Coast Path brings great economic benefits to the County of Somerset and we look forward to further additions being planned for the future which will complete the England Coast Path in Somerset.”