Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay to become new National Trail
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The mostly unsignposted 197-mile route is currently walked in its entirety by around 6,000 people every year, and wends its way through three contrasting national parks: the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.
The route was first devised by Alfred Wainwright, a renowned fell walker and author, who published his guidebook to the route in 1973.
Julia Bradbury, who presented a popular TV series about the walk in 2009, said: “I'm so pleased that this well-trodden route is to become an official National Trail.
“Having walked the walk (and talked the talk!), and promoted its virtues on TV and in print, I know exactly why it is one of the great Alfred Wainwright's most popular routes.
“Taking in the magical Lake District, to the heights of the Peaks and the rolling landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors - it is just stunning.”
Chairman of The Wainwright Society, Eric Robson said it had long been their ambition for the Coast to Coast to become a national trail.
He said: "We very much welcome the news that the route will become a new National Trail
“The walk is one of the country's most popular long-distance routes, and helps support businesses and jobs from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay, including in some of the north's most sparsely populated rural communities.
"As Alfred Wainwright said of the walk he devised: "Surely there cannot be a finer itinerary for a long-distance walk!"
The announcement, which delivers on a Government commitment to develop the route, will also ensure long-term support for the National Trail, with £5.6 million pledged to upgrade the path.
The upgrade to National Trail status will see the 197-mile trail recorded on Ordnance Survey maps in its entirety for the first time.
Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs, said: “I’m delighted to approve these plans and deliver on our manifesto commitment to develop the route into a new National Trail.
“With over £5 million of new funding to upgrade the path, local business and communities will be able to secure real benefits from the sustainable tourism this route offers.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “This announcement hands North Yorkshire an opportunity it must grasp to realise environmental, social and economic benefits across its breadth.
“Each year, several thousand complete the route, generating significant business for food and accommodation providers along the way, as well as other businesses, such as those that offer luggage transport services between overnight stays.
“This announcement will unlock Government funding to establish and maintain the trail, which could include improving surfacing to make the walk as accessible as possible.
“It would also provide an opportunity to address long-standing issues on the route, such as the erosion of riverside paths.”
Enhancements will be undertaken over the next three years, with the upgraded path expected to open in 2025.