The England Coast Path
There is a new closure between Saltlands Bridge and Express Park, in Bridgwater. The section of path between Watchet and Blue Anchor remains closed following a cliff fall and there is a diversion in place at Hinkley Point due to construction work for Hinkley Point C. For more information and maps of alternative routes see – Closures and diversions.
The England Coast Path is a new walking route that will follow the entire coast of England. For the first time people will have the right of access around all our open coast. The path is being opened in sections but will, when completed, be the longest coastal path in the world at 2,795 miles or 4,500 kilometres.
Here in Somerset the England Coast Path is open between Brean Down and Minehead. To see other sections of open path, visit GOV.UK and check the progress map.
The England Coast Path in Somerset
The 58-mile section of the England Coast Path between Brean Down and Minehead takes you on an amazing journey along the Somerset coast.
Beginning at Brean it passes the sandy beaches of Berrow and Burnham-on-Sea and follows the River Parrett to the Victorian docks of Bridgwater before turning back to the salt marshes at Steart Point and the Bridgwater Bay Nature Reserve. Past Hinkley Point the beach and cliff formations from Lilstock to Blue Anchor are classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) offering an outstanding series of sections through our geological history. Taking in the seafaring town of Watchet on the way, the route shadows the West Somerset Steam Railway through Blue Anchor and Dunster to end in Minehead, the gateway to Exmoor.
Where you can go
In some places the England Coast Path also allows public access to the coastal margin; areas of land between the path and the sea.
Please note that conservation areas and other sites on the route may restrict access to the coastal margin, so make sure you check first and obey signs along the path indicating where areas have restricted access.
For your own safety remember that many sections of our coast are steep and may be unstable, while shores and estuaries in Somerset can have fast incoming tides and areas of soft sand and mud.
Just because the map says you can go there doesn’t mean it is safe to do so. Always take note of warning signs along the path.
Closures and diversions
Saltlands Bridge to Express Park, Bridgwater
The England Coast Path is closed for 980m on the east bank of the River Parrett in Bridgwater between Saltlands Bridge, Western Way, and Express Park, Bristol Road. The closure is expected to be in place for 14 weeks from 1 August 2022 to facilitate the creation of a new cycleway as part of the Hinkley Walking and Cycling Improvement scheme.
During the works the England Coast Path will follow a diversion along Wylds Way and Bristol Road, with alternative diversions at the northern end to facilitate a phased closure designed to provide ongoing access to the England Coast Path.
While this closure is in place please follow the diversion signs on the ground and the route detailed in this downloadable map.
You can also see the diversion on the National Trails website.
Watchet to Blue Anchor
At present, the England Coast Path (ECP) remains closed to all traffic between Watchet and Blue Anchor due to a landslip that has caused part of the path to be lost, as you can see in this image.
Work is ongoing to resolve and reopen the path, however this is complicated by the unstable geology of the area. While this closure is in place, please follow the diversion signs on the ground and the route detailed in the downloadable map (below).
Note that there is no Right of Way or access following the cliff top between Warren Bay and Blue Anchor and trail users are reminded not to trespass in this area and to abide by the Countryside Code.
Coming from Watchet the route follows the Mineral Line Trail to Washford before turning back to the coast via Old Cleeve and returning to the Coast Path at the turning to The Smugglers Inn on Blue Anchor Road.
Download a map showing the diversion.
You can also see the diversion and download a .gpx file on the National Trails website.
Until the construction of Hinkley Point C is complete there is a long-term diversion in place on the England Coast Path. You can download a map showing the diversion.
Dogs on the England Coast Path
You are welcome to bring your dog to the England Coast Path but you must ensure that it is under effective control at all times. This means the dog must be on a lead or if not on a lea it must be kept within sight and you must be aware of its actions and confident that the dog will return reliably and promptly when called. Dogs must always be on a short lead in the vicinity of livestock.
At certain times of year in some locations, there may be additional restrictions on where dogs can go. Please obey any signs on the ground and stay out of areas where access with dogs is not allowed or keep your dog on a lead when requested to do so; where restrictions are in place they have been put there to protect sensitive wildlife or reduce problems around cattle.
To prevent the spread of infections and diseases associated with dog waste always clean up and remove your dog’s waste from the area and ensure that your dog has regular worming treatments.
For more information and guidance read our Guide for dog owners and dog walkers.
Report a problem on the path
If you encounter problems such as broken or missing signs, blocked routes or other access issues during your walk on the England Coast Path you can use the Explore Somerset map to report it.
Please locate the issue on the map as accurately as possible as this makes it easier for the wardens and rangers to locate and investigate. Issues will be assessed and where necessary, action taken to try and resolve them. If you supply your email address on the form you will receive updates when the issue has been assigned and resolved or closed.
Circular and short walks
The walks featured here were created to offer a series of walks that take in sections of the England Coast Path in Somerset. They offer a great introduction to Somerset’s coast while also exploring the villages and towns inland. There are two types of walk, a series of circular routes for which we have produced maps and walking notes. And Storywalks – see below – which you can access using a smart phone and which provide a great family day out.
To see the locations for the walks download our Coastal Walks in Somerset leaflet
There are 14 circular walks and we have included a range of styles. Some take you off the beaten track to discover the wilder sections of our coast, while others visit towns and villages and offer the option to stop for a cream tea or pub lunch. We’ve even included some longer walks for those wanting to make a day of it.
Each walk has a walking guide that includes a route map and directions and is available as a leaflet from Visitor Centres in Somerset, or as an electronic leaflet that can be downloaded, along with .gpx files for the route, from the National Trails website
England Coast Path Storywalks
Working with local poet Chris Jelley, we have developed a series of Storywalks for families and small groups on the England Coast Path. These walks provide an immersive experience of the areas you are visiting using the internet.
For more information, see our England Coast Path Storywalks page.
England Coast Path Communities
If you live or own a business on or near to the England Coast Path we are here to support you. Throughout next year we hope to be working with local communities and businesses to help them get the most out of their proximity to the path.
We welcome your feedback about events or activities you’d like to see happen, or ideas for how the England Coast Path can contribute to your community. To get in touch email us at email@example.com with England Coast Path in the subject line.
Volunteering on the England Coast Path
For those of you who enjoy getting out onto our coastline you might be interested in the England Coast Path Trail Watchers Scheme, which gives volunteers the opportunity to adopt a section of the trail and to help us look after it. To find out more about the Trail Watchers Scheme take a look at our Rights of Way –Trail Watcher information on Somerset volunteering. You can also contact us at ROWvolunteers@somerset.gov.uk.
Newsletter - The Coaster
Keep up-to-date with what’s happening on the England Coast Path in Somerset through our newsletter – The Coaster. The Coaster provides a focal point for all things on and around the England Coast Path.
If you’d like to receive The Coaster automatically by email, contact us and ask to be added to the mailing list. We also welcome your input for future issues, so if you have a project you’d like to see included, an event for the diary, or would just like to see your community or attraction get a mention, email us and let us know.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ECP The Coaster in the subject field.