There’s nothing like a long walk in the woods to clear the mind, to reset, to detox from daily life. We would argue the longer, the better. For some serious trekkers, in fact, only a months-long thru-hike of one of the world’s longest trails (think the Appalachian or Continental Divide Trails) will do. This year, England will unveil one more: The world’s longest continuous coastal hiking path.
At nearly 2,800 miles, the England Coast Path will be the world’s longest managed, waymarked coastal path. Large portions of the route have long been open to the public. However, Natural England spent nearly a decade securing private land access, clearing new trails, renewing existing trails, and piecing those portions together to form a single, continuous trail that circumnavigates the entire country. It will connect the Lake District and the Formby sand dunes in the northwest to the breathtaking landscape of Scotland in the northeast to the charming seaside towns and resorts like Plymouth in the southeast to the Welsh border in the southwest.
Plans for the England Coast Path started back in 2010 when Natural England spearheaded a campaign to connect the country’s entire coast. Hiking around England’s shores is already wildly popular for locals, and it’s become something of a bucket-list destination for foreign travelers. Natural England reported that nearly 30 million people trekked some portion of the country’s coast over just six months in 2019. The official completion of the path will no doubt make it more accessible and even more popular.
Natural England’s Chair, Tony Juniper, said in a statement, “Our flagship England Coast Path is taking people through some of the finest and most important landscape in England, opening up historic landmarks, natural wonders, and breathtaking scenery, enabling more visitors to experience, recognize, and value the benefits of our environment.”
Although an official date has yet to be announced, the England Coast Path is expected to open later this year. However, the big reveal will follow in 2021 when the “Year of the English Coast” will include scheduled events to promote the trail’s debut. With a focus on sustainability, the calendar will feature food & drink festivals, art & nature walks, and beach clean-ups. All the latest news about the path’s proposals, openings, and progress can be found on Gov.uk.
If very, very long-distance hiking is your thing, check out The Great Trail. This epic, cross-Canada trek spans almost 15,000 miles across 13 provinces and territories.
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