Somerset coastal path completed

A new 13.4-mile stretch of the England Coast Path was officially opened today (16 June). This now completes the coastal trail in Somerset. The new stretch runs from Beach Road car park (Sand Bay) to Brean Down Fort. There will now be a continuous coastal trail through Somerset from Brean to Minehead, where the South West Coast Path begins. The path already passes through the Victorian docks in Bridgwater and skirts the Parrett estuary.

The new path is also the latest stretch in the 2,700 mile England Coast Path. The opening of the new section took place at Brean Down Sluice. This is the point on the path that marks the crossing between Somerset County and North Somerset County.

Some of the highlights of the new stretch of path include:

Local and visitor highlights of the stretch include:

  • Bleadon Levels Nature Reserve which consists of wetlands and saltmarsh. Skylarks, waders and otters are often visible from the bird hides overlooking the lagoon
  • The grand pier at Weston-super-Mare beach
  • The limestone grassland of Walborough Nature Reserve which is home to nationally rare flora including the Somerset hair-grass and honewort
  • Wildfowl and waders on the estuary during the autumn and winter, including redshank, dunlin and black-tailed godwit
  • Wheelchair accessible paths at Weston Prom

However one part of the path is seasonal only. The route along the west bank of the Axe will only be open 16 April – 15 July each year. This is to allow waterbirds such as redshank to feed and roost in this area during the overwintering period. To conserve the bird’s energy and reduce disturbance to them, will give them the best chance of survival. Alternative walking routes will be available during closed periods.

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