The new section has opened up a viewpoint on the village of Staithes. Photo: Tony Bartholemew

The new section has opened up a viewpoint on the village of Staithes. Photo: Tony Bartholemew

The longest section of the England Coast Path so far created opened this week.

The 68-mile stretch along the north Yorkshire shore from Filey Brigg to Middlesbrough is the second to be opened in the past few days.

It follows the inauguration of south-east England’s first section along the White Cliffs of Dover.

The Westminster Government’s advisory body Natural England is currently establishing a 4,345km (2,700-mile) path around the entire English coastline, due to be completed by 2020. It said work is already underway on 60 per cent of the route. When completed, it will be the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world. It will also become a national trail, the top designation for long-distance paths.

The latest section is a continuous route that passes north from Filey Brigg through the coastal resorts of Scarborough and Whitby, Saltburn and Redcar, providing views of the North York Moors and coastline. It follows much of the coastal section of Cleveland Way national trail with improvements to the route.

The coast path also coincides with part of the final section of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk near Robin Hood’s Bay.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also confirmed an additional eight-mile section between Newport Bridge and North Gare, which links the previously open 34 miles of coast path in Durham with the new section just opened, has also been approved and is expected to formally open next year.

Walkers will then be able to enjoy 110 miles of continuous England Coast Path from Filey to South Bents.

A small section of new access has been created near Staithes, where the trail has been brought closer to the headland, and opened new and views down into the harbour.

The new section has been opened up with the help of the National Trust which has granted access and created a generous 10-metre wide, fence-lined path that will enable people to really enjoy the views.

Malcolm Hodgson, national trails officer for the Cleveland Way based within the North York Moors national park said: “As the headland juts out just beyond Staithes, it offers visitors a more direct view back to the old harbour and the cottage-lined cobbled streets that before has only really been seen by those out at sea.

Part of the route includes the coastal section of the Cleveland Way. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Part of the route includes the coastal section of the Cleveland Way. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

“The opening of the England Coast Path not only showcases beauty spots like these but also gives greater prominence to the Cleveland Way’s route along the spectacular coastline within the national park.”

Natural England’s chief executive James Cross said: “It’s an honour to open this section of coast path near my home town in Teesside.

“This route showcases the diversity of our coastline, from the views over the expansive North York Moors and the winding streets of postcard-perfect villages to our industrial heritage, and diverse wildlife all year round. We want people to enjoy exploring all of this coast, using a high-quality, well signposted route.”

North of Saltburn, where the Cleveland Way turns inland, the route continues through Marske to Redcar along open coast, before turning west to follow the Teesdale Way. Walkers will be able to enjoy the industrial heritage of the Tees Estuary before arriving in the historical centre of Middlesbrough.

Funding from Tata Steel and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has enabled the restoration of a footbridge to the east of Lord McGowan Bridge to re-establish the ‘Black Path’, a previously blocked section of the Teesdale Way. Signposting along the entire route and some improvements to surfaces will enable walkers to navigate the route with confidence, Natural England said.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Middlesbrough’s old docklands and harbours represent an important and iconic part of the region’s history, and this picturesque stretch of coastline will allow the generations of our future to connect with the landscapes of our past.”

The England Coast Path gives walkers new rights of access to typical coastal land including foreshore, beaches, dunes and cliffs. The path will now be able to ‘roll back’ as the cliffs erode or slips, enabling a replacement route to be put in place quickly if necessary, and so solving longstanding difficulties with maintaining a continuous route along the coast.

The last coalition Government set a completion date of 2020 for the project.

Tourism in Yorkshire is worth £7bn annually and employs almost a quarter of a million people. Natural England said it is working on three stretches of the north-east coast, and expects the remaining ones to open over the next couple of years.

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