The England Coast Path is a continuous, long-distance National Trail around the entire coastline of England. When complete, it will be the world’s longest unbroken coastal trail.
The England Coast Path (ECP) runs for roughly 2,795 miles/4,500 kilometres or so, from the Scottish border on the west coast, past St Bees at the start of the popular Coast to Coast route, around Cumbria, past Blackpool and the beautiful Formby coast, round Liverpool and the Wirral peninsula to reach the Welsh border near Chester.
Beyond Wales, the path resumes at Chepstow on the Welsh/English border, before heading to Minehead, at the start of the 630-mile South West Coast Path. The South West Coast Path navigates the Somerset and North Devon coasts, to round Cornwall and then Devon, before going along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to reach Poole Harbour, near Bournemouth.
But it’s more than just a path. Changes in the law in 2009, now give everyone a new right of access to the shore: to beaches, cliff tops, salt marshes and dunes, as well as to heritage and historic industrial sites that are part of England’s ancient story.
Where is the England Coast Path?Tony2020-03-06T11:29:52+00:00
Only the fittest, most determined walkers can hope to complete the entire Wales Coast Path in 6-7 weeks, averaging 20 or so miles a day.
At a more leisurely pace — allowing time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the views, and with regular pauses to watch the wildlife, swim, enjoy a quiet drink or visit some of the fascinating places along the way — you should allow around 3 months for the whole trip.
Is the England Coast Path well signposted?Tony2020-03-06T11:32:09+00:00
Generally, however, if you keep an eye out for the distinctive England Coast Path signs and waymarkers, and the sea on your right (if you’re walking from north to south), and you shouldn’t stray far from the route.
What makes the England Coast Path special?Tony2020-03-10T10:08:44+00:00
Whether you are determined to walk the whole Path in one go, in occasional sections, or a few miles at a time, you’re in for a real treat.
There’s something new around every corner, and you’ll discover places that can only be reached on foot. Visually stunning and rich in both history and wildlife, the England Coast Path promises the best of the British seaside. Piers and promenades, coastal pubs and sheltered harbours, traditional seaside towns and timeless English fishing villages. On the wild side, there are ever-changing views, soaring cliffs and spacious beaches, sea caves and arches, spring flowers, seabirds, seals and dolphins, as well as castles, coves and coastal pubs.
It’s a remarkable and inescapably English landscape.
What’s the best time of year to walk the England Coast Path?Tony2020-03-03T17:07:18+00:00
Britain’s main walking season runs from Easter to the end of September. Although the England Coast Path is delightful throughout the year, the best walking weather tends to be in late spring as well as early and late summer.
Although the Easter holiday is busy, spring is otherwise a quiet time of year. The days are lengthening and the weather getting steadily warmer. Migrant birds and basking sharks are returning to Britain from farther south. The weather is also likely to be dry.
Early summer is ideal for walking. May and June enjoy the greatest number of sunshine hours per day (the average for May is 225 hours, and for June 210 hours) and the lowest rainfall of the year (average for May is 50mm, June is 51mm). You’ll also have the accompaniment of a spectacular array of spring flowers and the chance to see breeding sea birds at their best.
High summer is the busiest season, particularly during the school holidays in July and August. Both the beaches and the Coast Path are likely to be packed in places. Finding somewhere to stay at short notice can be tricky, too — so it’s best to book well in advance. However, the long sunny days are certainly attractive, and you can often walk in shorts and a T-shirt.
By September most visitors have returned home, and you’ll have the English coastal path largely to yourself. The weather remains good and the sea is still warm enough for swimming. Sunny days often stretch into September, with the first of the winter storms arriving in late September and October. Autumn also means the coastal trees and bracken are slowly turning from green to red, orange and gold.
Winter brings shorter, colder days with less sunlight and other disadvantages: unpredictable weather, stormy seas, high winds and even gales along with closed cafés and accommodation. But for experienced walkers, the cooler days can bring peace and solitude and a heightened sense of adventure.
What about the famous English weather?Tony2020-03-03T17:16:34+00:00
Like the rest of Britain, England is warmed by the Gulf Stream’s ocean current and enjoys a temperate climate. This is particularly true of the country’s south and west coasts.
Across the west of England, the weather is generally mild but damp. Low pressure fronts typically come in off the Irish Sea from the west and southwest, hitting the coast first and then moving inland to the east. This means rain and wet weather can occur at any time of year, so you should always take good waterproofs and spare clothes with you.
For more weather or a five-day forecast, visit www.metoffice.com or www.bbc.co.uk/weather.
Several premium-rate national ‘Weatherlines’ give up-to-date forecasts, and the Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Parks websites provide local information, too.
Can I cycle on the England Coast Path?Tony2020-03-04T08:44:25+00:00
No, cycling is not legally allowed on public footpaths. Plus the number of kissing gates and stiles on the path make it impractical for bikes. However, there are plenty of sections of bridleway – where cycling is allowed – as well as dedicated cycleways on many parts of the path or closeby.
Who manages the England Coast Path?Tony2020-03-04T08:44:48+00:00
The England Coast Path is managed by Natural England, part of the UK government tasked with protecting and improving England’s natural environment. Its role is to help everyone enjoy, understand and access the natural environment.
Is the England Coast Path suitable for children?Tony2020-03-04T08:45:19+00:00
Yes, many parts of the Path are suitable for children. But remember that the further away you get from towns and car parks, the tougher the terrain may be. Turn back if the path becomes unsuitable for the youngest or least able in your party. And keep children well away from cliff edges and deep water.
What is your refund policy?Tony2020-03-04T08:45:53+00:00