The England Coast Path
A new permissive diversion in the Helwell Bay area of Watchet means the England Coast Path is now open between Doniford and Watchet. The path remains closed between Watchet and Blue Anchor due to a landslip. More information – 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
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. Download a map showing the diversion.
SCC is responsible for maintaining the England Coast Path within the county boundaries and has closed the path in the interest of public safety. The landslip 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 part of the path is closed there is a diversion in place between Watchet and Blue Anchor.
While this closure is in place, there is no Right of Way or access following the cliff top between Warren Bay and Blue Anchor and all users are reminded not to trespass in this area, to follow the diverted route and to abide by the Countryside Code.
For information on the closure please email MDCooper@somerset.gov.uk or phone 01823 358250.
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.
Circular and short walks
There are many footpaths and local walks in Somerset that join the England Coast Path for all or part of their length. To find out more and download walking notes, maps or .gpx files, explore the links below.
The national trails website includes a selection of short and circular walks on the England Coast Path in Somerset.
There is also a section on Somerset walks on the Visit Somerset 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.