New coastal path linking Brean to Sand Bay opens

North Somerset is now linked with the ceremonial county of Somerset through a new England Coastal Path

North Somerset is now linked with the ceremonial county of Somerset through a new England Coastal Path. Picture: Weston beach during summer. Inset: Map of the new coast path through Sand Bay, Weston and Uphill. - Credit: Archant

A continuous footpath, formed as part of a national coastal path network, now links walkers in North Somerset to Minehead.

The new 13.4 mile route, which stretches from Sand Bay to Brean Down Fort, was unveiled on Thursday (June 16) and will now form part of the England Coast Path, that will encompass the entire English coastline.

Once completed, the 2,700 mile walk will be the longest coastal path in the world.

Map of the England Coast Path which links Sand Bay to Brean Down, via Weston seafront and Uphill nature reserve.

Map of the England Coast Path which links Sand Bay to Brean Down, via Weston seafront and Uphill nature reserve. - Credit: Natural England

The route begins at Beach Road car park and takes walkers along the toll road, past Marine Lake and Knightstone Island, along Weston's promenade, Beach Lawns, through Uphill Wharf, along Uphill nature reserve and the Bleadon levels and onto Brean Down. 

The stretch along the River Axe's west bank in Brean will only be open seasonally from April 16 to July 15 to avoid disturbing water birds which feed and roost there during the winter months.

There will also be no public access through Uphill and Bleadon saltmarshes and mudflats, this is to give local wildlife the best chance of survival.

Map in hatched red showing no public access through Uphill and Bleadon saltmarshes and mudflats. 

Map in hatched red showing no public access through Uphill and Bleadon saltmarshes and mudflats. - Credit: Natural England

Area Manager for Wessex at Natural England, Rachel Williams, said: "We know that just two hours of contact with nature a week can significantly boost our health and wellbeing.

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"This path is a welcome addition for both Somerset and North Somerset and will provide both the local community and visitors and tourists from further afield more opportunities to access the coast and connect with nature."

An unveiling ceremony was held at Brean Cross Sluice at the point which marks the crossing between the county of Somerset and North Somerset. 

Cllr Robert Payne (left) and Cllr John Crockford-Hawley pictured next to the new footpath sign at Brean.

Cllr Robert Payne (left) and Cllr John Crockford-Hawley pictured next to the new footpath sign at Brean. - Credit: NSC

North Somerset Council chairperson, Cllr Karin Haverson was in attendance, as was the council's heritage and regeneration champion Cllr John Crockford-Hawley and Cllr Robert Payne. 

Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "Our aim to create a footpath and cycle way between Brean, Weston and Clevedon inches ever closer and this latest inclusion in the national coastal footpath network adds a welcome green touch to our local tourist attractiveness."

North Somerset Council chairperson Cllr Karin Haverson unveiling the new footpath post on the River Axe at Brean.

North Somerset Council chairperson Cllr Karin Haverson unveiling the new footpath post on the River Axe at Brean. - Credit: NSC

Executive member for neighbourhoods and community services at North Somerset, Cllr Mike Solomon, said: "I am delighted that this first section is officially recognised and that our residents and visitors will be able to enjoy our beautiful coastline more easily.

"It is great that this project, carried out in partnership with Natural England, is reaching completion which is incredibly exciting for future tourism and our economy."

The new path will also form part of the 'tidal trail', a circular route from Uphill Beach car park.