New stretch of the England Coast Path to open in South Tyneside
The latest stretch of the England Coast Path will be officially opened in South Tyneside today.
Natural England, a public body, will be unveiling the route between South Bents in Whitburn and Amble in Northumberland.
The pathway will give walkers 44 miles of coastline to enjoy while providing a boost for the borough’s economy.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ken Stephenson, said: “Our coastal landscape takes in the rugged clifftops of The Leas and Marsden as well a hidden coves and glorious beaches.
“There are also award winning parks, tourist attractions, areas of outstanding natural beauty, wildlife habitats and heritage sites to explore along this stretch.”
With walking one of the most popular pastimes at the coast, Tyneside and Northumberland’s first open section of the path will enable people to explore the coast around the river Tyne and into Northumberland, linking the wild beaches and dunes of Druridge Bay to the resorts and ports further south.
The official route uses the Shields Ferry to cross the Tyne
Visitors and locals will find improved access and signposting along the route to allow them to enjoy numerous towns, villages and historic sites such as North Shields, Whitley Bay and Druridge Bay. Walkers will also be able to access 11 bathing waters, eight of which are rated as ‘excellent’ including Blyth’s South Beach.
Natural England’s chairman Andrew Sells said: “The England Coast Path brings people closer to our magnificent wildlife, landscapes and seascapes.
“I am delighted that it has now reached Northumberland – one of our most beautiful and unspoiled counties.
“South Bents to Amble is the tenth stretch to open and a significant milestone in our ambition to create the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world.”
The South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Northumberland stretch is the tenth section of Natural England’s flagship England Coast Path project to open and offers local shops, pubs and hotels the opportunity to benefit from the £381 million spent each year by visitors to English coastal paths.
It coincides with the publication of new data from Natural England, showing that over 29 million leisure walking trips took place on English coastal paths in 2017 – supporting over 6,000 full time jobs.
Rural Minister Lord Gardiner, who is attending today’s launch event at Souter Lighthouse, off Coast Road, said: “England’s stunning coastline is a national treasure.
“The England Coast Path is already playing a significant role in opening up access to our most spectacular sites.”