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Stunning Wainwright Coast to Coast walk to get £5.6m upgrade

TV presenter and keen walker Julia Bradbury at the start of the Coast to Coast walk in St Bees, Cumbria (Julia Bradbury/PA)
TV presenter and keen walker Julia Bradbury at the start of the Coast to Coast walk in St Bees, Cumbria (Julia Bradbury/PA)

A popular Coast to Coast walk across northern England is to have a £5.6 million upgrade, it has been announced.

The stunning 197-mile walk from St Bees in Cumbria, across the Lake District and into North Yorkshire, finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay, is to become a National Trail, Natural England has said.

The route takes in three National Parks and was set out by the celebrated fell walker Alfred Wainwright in 1973, and around 6,000 people a year tackle it in its entirety.

Walkers cross through high fells, heather moorland and heath and the route is rich in history, passing Iron Age hill forts and medieval castles.

The upgrade means the route will meet official quality standards, including being more accessible for people of different abilities, having high-quality signs and path surfaces, adding circular routes for shorter walks, as well as more promotion to encourage domestic and international tourism.

The announcement also heralds a long-term commitment to help local authorities maintain the path.

Natural England will work alongside the Lake District, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks as well as Cumbria and North Yorkshire County Councils on the upgrade, which should be completed in 2025.

TV presenter and keen walker Julia Bradbury 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: “This is a very exciting and important step and we look forward to working with partners along the route to establish the C2C Walk as one of the UK’s great National Trails.

“As Alfred Wainwright said of the walk he devised, ‘Surely there cannot be a finer itinerary for a long-distance walk’.”

Rural Affairs Minister said Lord Benyon: “The Coast to Coast route passes through some of our most spectacular countryside, villages and natural habitats so I’m delighted to approve these plans and deliver on our manifesto commitment to develop the route into a new National Trail.”