12 Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park, UK

England will open the world’s longest coastal hiking trail. All along the coast of the country!

The length of the English coastal route will be almost 4,500 kilometers. The route is scheduled to open in 2021, despite the coronavirus.

Anton Diakonov

The coast of England is known for its beautiful scenery, from huge white cliffs to wide meadows leading down to sandy beaches. There are plenty of hiking trails of varying lengths along England’s coastline. The longest of these, the England Coast Path, is set to open in 2021 and will join the existing trails. It will be the longest coastal route in the world. It is expected that its preparation will be completed by the end of 2020, and the first tourists will follow it in early 2021. We translated Matador Network’s piece about the trail.

The longest route? How long is it?

The length of the marked English Coastal Route will be 4,498 kilometers. It will combine more than 10 existing routes. They will have improved markings and updated pavement to ensure safety and accessibility for people with special needs. Tourists will see not only natural attractions, but also explore historic towns, villages, castles, lighthouses and ruins.

The route is developed by Natural England, a government organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of English nature.

How long will it take to hike the route?

Some hikers have already walked the entire coastline of England, but there are no marked and convenient trails in certain places yet. So it’s hard to say exactly how long the hike along the new route will take until someone tries it. The approximate time is seven to 10 months, depending on the weather and the hiker’s training. But the Coast Trail doesn’t have to be done in its entirety: if you don’t have time for a full hike, it’s fine to choose one or more sections of the route.

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What sections of the trail are open?

There are hundreds of routes, short and long, along the English coast. You can find a list of them on regional hiking websites and on the National Trails portal. There you can see which ones are already open.

Routes in the northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest of the country have already been published on the English Coast Path website. Just click on any of the regions to find out about the trails in its territory.

There are also 11 active coastal routes that will be connected into one 2,414-kilometer route. Among them: The 1,013-kilometer South West Coast Trail, the Cumbria Coastal Way (297 kilometers), the Saxon Shore Way (262 kilometers) and many other smaller trails ranging from 32 to 96 kilometers. So there are already plenty of options to start exploring the English coast.

Where does the English Coastal Way begin?

Theoretically, anywhere! No matter where your travels take you across the country, you can just get out on the trail and start hiking. For those who want to traverse the entire route, however, it’s best to start either in the southwest, at the Welsh border, or in the northeast, at Beric-upon-Tuid near the Scottish border.

What sights are encountered along the way?

Perhaps the most scenic stretch of the English Channel is the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning Mesozoic-era ridges and rock formations. The Jurassic Coast stretches for 152 kilometers along the English Channel, from Stadland Bay to Exmouth. Along the way you’ll encounter epic cliffs at West Bay and sculpture-like rock formations like the Durdle Dore Arch. Because of the age of the local rock formations, you’ll often encounter prehistoric fossils in this section, so watch your step! Travelers who are more interested in cities will be able to visit legendary places like Liverpool and the seaside resorts of Blackpool and Brighton. The latter is known for its beach and Palace Pier.

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Along the entire route, especially in the northeast, there are often small towns and charming fishing villages. There are also medieval ruins along the way, such as the ruins of Bamborough Castle in Northumberland County, once occupied by the region’s rulers. The new South Downs National Park is on the route, with sweeping hills and spectacular views of the famous Seven Sisters.

When is the best time to hike the Coastal Way?

The best time to hike the UK is in summer, when the weather is warmest and most stable. Also, light days are longer, so you can walk longer distances and enjoy English nature in all its splendor. But even in summer you can’t fully rely on the weather, so it’s worth carrying things to protect you from rain and wind.

Those who want to traverse the entire route should plan a hike of at least six months’ duration. Start in the spring, walk in the summer and finish in the fall would be best. So you can avoid the cold and wet winter months, when the temperature drops to almost zero and snow can fall. Rain and wind are inevitable, but there will be a chance to see spring flowers, summer greens, and fall colors.

Will the coronavirus pandemic affect the opening date of the route?

The English Coast Path is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021. That’s long enough for the launch of the route and a series of events called “The Year of the English Coast” (beach clean-ups, exhibitions and gastronomic events) to go according to plan.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, many works and projects are on hold. Perhaps because of this, the launch will be slightly delayed. The situation should clear up in the coming months. For more news you can follow the news on the route’s website or on the Visit Britain tourism portal.

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