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21-mile coastal route opens on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness

The new stretch is now open to everyone via a single, circular route for the first time. Credit: Natural England.

Some of Cumbria’s most spectacular coastline has opened to the public for the first time today (12 February) after Natural England unveiled 21 miles of the England Coast Path on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness.

The new stretch, which takes in beaches, dunes and salt marshes, wildlife and dramatic views, is now open to everyone via a single, circular route for the first time.

Walkers will be able to enjoy views over the Irish Sea and Morecambe Bay, and across the Walney Channel and the Duddon Estuary to the Lake District fells.

Footage from Natural England:

The path takes in the North Walney National Nature Reserve, also running close to South Walney Nature Reserve, famous for its grey seals.

Natural England is currently establishing a 2,700-mile path around the entire English coastline, with today’s stretch the 13th to open. When completed, it will be the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world. It will also become a National Trail – the nation’s finest and most popular long-distance paths.

Mark Hesketh, Natural England’s Deputy Area Manager for Cumbria, said: “The England Coast Path route showcases the fabulous Walney coastline, from celebrating our industrial and wildlife heritage in the Walney Channel, to capturing local beauty spots such as the spectacular viewpoints from North Walney National Nature Reserve. “The route is a fantastic resource for local communities and visitors alike. We thank everyone for their time and input so far to help get this fantastic stretch open for the public to use and enjoy the many benefits it will provide.”

Natural England is currently establishing a 2,700-mile path around the entire English coastline. Credit: Natural England

Figures from Natural England show the 'huge popularity' of England's coastal paths.

£29.1m
Walking trips over a six-month period.
£350m
Amount the economy was boosted by in 2017.
97%
Of people said they felt refreshed as a result of their visit.