Coast to Coast walk: what is the route

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Natural England gives the Coast-to-Coast trail National Trail status.

The Coast-to-Coast Walk is one of the country’s most popular long-distance walks – attracting visitors from all over the world to enjoy views of three of England’s national parks.

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During the walk you will also pass lakes, mountains, medieval castles and a number of pubs.

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Each year the route is completed by around 6,000 people and is estimated to generate around £7million for the local economy.

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Here we take a look at what the coast-to-coast trek is and how long it takes to complete the trek.

The walk offers views of the Yorkshire Dales (Getty Images)

Who discovered the Coast to Coast Walk?

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Coast to Coast was discovered by Alfred Wainwright.

Alfred Wainwright was a British hiker, travel guide writer and illustrator.

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Wainwright is known for his picture guides to the Lakeland Fells. He described his books as a “love letter” to the Lakeland Fells and was awarded an MBE for his achievements.

A coast-to-coast walk was developed by Wainwright and the guidebook was published in 1973.

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Wainwright died in 1991 at the age of 84.

What is the coast to coast route?

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The coast-to-coast route begins at St Bees beach in Cumbria and ends at Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.

During the journey, walkers pass through three contrasting national parks – the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

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Tradition has it that hikers should get their feet wet at the beginning and end of their journey.

It is also common for walkers to take a pebble from St Bees beach and place it on Robin Hood’s Bay beach.

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How long does it take to complete the Coast to Coast?

In the guidebook, Wainwright breaks the 197-mile route into 12 stages, each ending in a settlement with on-site lodging. The route is designed to include a two-week vacation with a day or two of rest.

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What does National Trail status mean?

On Friday, August 12, 2022, the Coast-to-Coast route was granted National Trail status.

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As a result, Natural England have announced they are investing £5.6million to improve the iconic route.

Natural England will also aim to make the trail more accessible to people of all abilities by replacing stiles with gates where possible, investing in trails and putting up more signage along the route.

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The improvements are expected to take place over the next three years and the upgrades are expected to be completed by 2025.

Here is a full list of other National Trails in the UK:

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  • Cleveland Way – 109 miles
  • Cotswold Way – 102 miles
  • England Coast Path – 2,800 miles
  • Glyndŵr’s Way – 135 miles
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path – 85 miles
  • North Downs Way – 153 miles
  • Offa’s Dyke Path – 177 miles
  • Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path – 130 miles
  • Pembrokshire Coast Path – 186 miles
  • Pennine Bridleway – 205 miles
  • Pennine Way – 268 miles
  • The Ridgeway – 87 miles
  • South Downs Way – 100 miles
  • South West Coast Path – 630 miles
  • Thames Park – 184 miles
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way – 79 miles