New figures showcase the health and economic benefits of walking on England’s coastal paths
new figures out today (26 December) reveal the huge popularity of England’s coastal paths with 29.1 million walking trips made over a six-month period, boosting local economies and bringing health and wellbeing benefits to visitors.
The never-before-released data was collected by Natural England – the government’s adviser on the natural environment. It shows the significant value of coastal walking for health and wellbeing, with 97% of people feeling refreshed and revitalised as a result of their visit.
The data also revealed that visits boosted the economy by £350 million, with day-trippers spending on average £8.65 per day in coastal shops and overnight visitors spending on average £36.73. This supported more than 5,900 full-time equivalent jobs along the English coast.
Natural England is currently establishing a 2,700-mile path around the entire English coastline. Walkers will be able to enjoy, explore and experience some of our finest and most important cultural and natural heritage – from the white cliffs of Dover, to the industrial heritage of the North East. When completed, the England Coast Path will be the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world.
Today’s study, which collected data from July 2017 and January 2018, will provide a baseline to help evaluate the benefits of English coast paths to local economies and communities..
Once complete, the England Coast Path will become a National Trail – the nation’s finest and most popular long-distance paths. It will be a continuous, easy-to-follow, well-maintained walking route which is being carefully designed to help with managing recreation alongside other land uses.
The work connects long-established national trails such as the 630-mile South West Coast Path with new sections such as the 58-mile stretch between Minehead and Brean Down in Somerset.