The cliff path at St Bees Head, at the start of the Coast to Coast Walk

The cliff path at St Bees Head, at the start of the Coast to Coast Walk

A section of the Coast to Coast Walk in Cumbria has been closed after a landslip near its starting point.

A 40m stretch of the cliff-top path at South Head at St Bees has collapsed and authorities say it is unsafe for the public to use.

Police were alerted yesterday evening and immediately cordoned off the area. Copeland Borough Council also alerted the Liverpool Coastguard office.

The local Coastguard sector manager went to the scene, along with Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team and officers from the council to assess the extent of the fall, which is right at the start of the 309km (192-mile) route, which runs from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast.

Liverpool Coastguard watch manager Paul Parkes said: “We would like to advise members of the public to take care when walking the stretch of cliffs between North Head and South Head at St Bees as part of this path has been closed off for safety reasons.

“The council currently have specialists on scene to assess whether there is a risk of further land sliding.

“We are now working with the local council and emergency planning officers to minimise the risk to members of the public as a result of this incident.”

The Coast to Coast Walk, devised by Alfred Wainwright and first described in his 1973 book, is followed by thousands of walkers every year.

No obvious diversion around the dangerous section is possible for walkers, other than using a short footpath to the road through Rottington and then to Sandwith, to rejoin the route.

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