The first few miles of the long-awaited path around the whole of England’s coast was officially opened on 29th June 2012. Natural England announced 32km (20 miles) of the route around Weymouth Bay in Dorset starting at Rufus Castle in Portland and ending at Lulworth Cove is now in force and available for the public to use.
The scheme means part of England’s longest National Trail, the South West Coast Path, has been moved closer to the sea and avoids road sections that previously formed part of the route. Although a lot of the stretch was already in existence, there have been some brilliant improvements to make it easier and more enjoyable for people walking in Weymouth. These include better views in several parts as the path winds closer to the sea than it did before and room on either side of the path to relax and enjoy the surroundings of the Dorset coastline.
The new Wales Coast Path launched in May provides a continuous 1,367km/850-mile walking route around the country’s entire seaboard. Of course, at more than three times as long, its English counterpart was always going to be a challenging project, especially when around 34% or 1,481km/921 miles of it currently contains no satisfactory, legally secure path.