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The government’s official outdoors body has announced that it plans to add a further stretch to the England Coast Path, which will run through Dorset.
If approved, the 67km stretch along the Jurassic Coast will be added to the existing South West Coast Path, which will significantly enhance the current route. It has been proposed that the new additional section will begin in Lyme Regis and end at Rufus Castle, meaning Dorset will be among the first counties in England to have coastline dedicated to the England Coastal Path.
The South West Coast Path is one of the highlights for many holidaymakers renting cottages in Dorset, with the new section sure to draw more visitors to the area in future. Keen walkers will be able to benefit from the extended route, which offers unparalleled views of the stunning coastline that the county is renowned for, overlooking picturesque locations such as Lyme Bay.
The improvements will see the trail brought closer to the sea, but will also ensure that there is room for the path to ‘roll back’ should forthcoming erosion occur. It will also help to keep those using the coastal path safe and make managing the access of the coastline easier.
Fran Davies, Natural England’s area manager for Dorset, told grough magazine: “We’ve worked closely with landowners, businesses and farmers on the plans and thank them warmly for their time and constructive conversations so far. It’s taken time to get the proposals to this point – we rightly have to consider the potential impacts on the protected and vibrant natural heritage of the area.”
There will now be a period of eight weeks for legal interests and members of the public to make objections, which will be taken into account by the Secretary of State. If approved, the Dorset section will be part of the England Coast Path, which is expected to be 2,700 miles in length when it is completed in 2020.