The England Coast Path in Yorkshire
- Credit: Bruce Cutts/Natural England
A new coastal path due to open in Yorkshire this summer will eventually form part of a route around England. Words By Paul Mackenzie
Andrew Best knows a thing or two about keeping people in line. As the former headteacher of schools in the Yorkshire Dales and Harrogate, he has helped thousands of people stay on the straight and narrow and although he has left the classroom behind, he’s still doing that in his new job.
Andrew is Natural England’s senior advisor in Yorkshire on a scheme to create a coastal path around England. The completed route will cover almost 2800 miles and Andrew is responsible for the 383 mile stretch from Skegness to the Scottish border, which includes the Yorkshire coast.
In January, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss gave her approval to plans for a 70 mile section of the path between Filey Brigg in North Yorkshire and Middlesbrough’s Newport Bridge which should be open to walkers in early summer. Once works are complete, the new path will stretch along the edge of the North York Moors National Park, passing through Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby before ending at Middlesbrough’s iconic bridge across the River Tees.
Local authorities along the route are now working on installing signs and information boards, using funding from Natural England, along with new bridges and steps where they are needed. The complete path around England’s coast is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Andrew, himself a keen walker and cyclist, said: ‘My role has been to liaise with landowners and barring the odd exception, almost everyone has been very positive about the scheme. Some have expressed concerns but most have seen it as a good thing generally and, something that could bring business opportunities for them.’
Andrew, who is 56 and lives near Ilkley, moved to Natural England after a 20 year teaching career and he added: ‘I think the creation of national coastal path is a good thing – it will hopefully get more people out and exploring the coastline and will take them to places they might otherwise not visit. Everyone knows places like Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes are beautiful but there are other places along the coast in Yorkshire and the North East which are sometimes overlooked.
‘This new path will have good signage and people will be able to turn up and turn left or right and enjoy a walk by the coast with stunning views and fresh air. It’s good for your physical health, it’s good for your mental health and it’s good for the economy of businesses around the coast.’
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Parts of the new national path will follow existing trails – such as the Cleveland Way – and it will also open up new stretches of coastal walking in areas which were previously off limits. The path will also be protected against coastal erosion – as the sea erodes the coastline, legislation is in place to allow the path to be moved inland.
And Rural Affairs Minister Rory Stewart added: ‘We are an island nation, and the coast and the sea is a central part of what it means to be British. North Yorkshire features breath-taking scenery, wild, windswept clifftop walks and vast expanses of sandy shore, incredible places for residents and visitors.
‘These new paths will give people easy access to our outstanding coastline as a place to simply rest, relax and admire the view – something that’s crucial for our health and well-being – but also for some of the most testing, energetic walks in Britain.’