Rishi Sunak backs bid to give Coast to Coast walk official National Trail status

“Surely there cannot be a finer itinerary for a long-distance walk… with mountains and hills, valleys and rivers, heather moors and sea-cliffs combining in a pageant of colourful scenery.”

It is a description thousands of walkers have come to appreciate over the five decades since fell-walker Alfred Wainwright introduced the Coast to Coast Walk across the north of England to the wider world.

Such is its popularity it seems strange the 190-mile trek from St Bees on the Irish Sea coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on Yorkshire’s North Sea coast has never held official status.

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But that may now change with a long-running campaign to formally designate the route a National Trail beginning to bear fruit.

The walk begins (or ends) at Robin Hood's Bay

There is hope the Coast to Coast Walk, by Wainwright and first publicised in his 1973 book of the same name, will be granted recognition in time for its 50th anniversary.

A formal proposal is then due to be submitted to the Government next year and if approved Natural England will provide annual funding support and maintenance payments under the route’s new status.

Richmond MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak described Wainwright’s original idea as “simply brilliant” and said: “The Coast to Coast is renowned around the world and it is entirely right that it should have National Trail status – the fact it is currently an unofficial walk is a real anomaly.”