England has many official coast paths, the newest being the 3000 mile long England Coast Path, which runs around the entire perimeter. Passing through Northumberland and Durham’s heritage coast, it then crosses Yorkshire and goes south to the Norfolk coast, follows into Kent and goes across to Cornwall via Devon and the Jurassic Coast, up to Merseyside and to the Cumbrian Coast. What a walk!
Never take pebbles from beaches (illegal in Italy) as it disturbs ecosystems. Keep dogs away from seaweed (they like to play with fronds) as it expands in the stomach as it dries. If exploring rock pools, leave creatures alone (crabs etc) as many are injured, once returned to sea. Wear wellies (not flops) as wet rocks and seaweed are slippery.
A Slow Walk West is the story of a political diarist who escapes from London’s Westminster, to walk the northern stretch of the South West Coast Path. Beginning at Minehead (Somerset), Sasha follows the path to Land’s End (Cornwall) and rather than walk it in one go, she returned each year (like a migratory bird) to start a new session from where she left off from, which takes over 10 years.
The result is a beguiling literary exploration of one of the most popular coastlines for walkng, on earth. Also a personal story about our shores from pre-Celtic times to the present day, and the changing of rocks and botany, and how exploiting natural resources has caused upcoming risks. Along the way, the author finds that the path is not just a walk across the wave-battered and windy western shoreline, but a story on how nature can survive, often with extraordinary resilience.
Wainwright’s coast-to-coast walk
The Coast-to-Coast Walk is a personal travelogue of Wainwright’s popular 200-mile walk that starts in the Cumbrian seaside village of St Bees, and ends when you paddle your toes in the east Yorkshire village of Robin Hood’s Bay. The journey takes a few weeks, and this is the story of how Trevor laced up his boots in the early 90s and set off.
Going well beyond the usual trail guide, he covers the history, people and villages along the way, the flora and fauna, folklore and fells, waterfalls and mhistory of industry and churches.
The coast-to-coast walk begins in Cumbria, a large county in northwest England that is home to all of England’s highest mountains (and lots of of rain!) Nearly all the county is rural, but only a few towns. It’s home to one of the best populations ospreys (fish-eating birds of prey) which almost went extinct a few years back. Nearby towns are Carnforth (the station now a living museum to the beautiful film Brief Encounter). And the city of Carlisle (near the Scottsh border – legend has it that the stone circles of ‘Long Meg and her Daughters’ were due to them turning to stone, for dancing on the Sabbath on the Moors!).