Somerset

England Coast Path new stretch opens in Somerset

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Media captionFly over the new stretch of the England Coast Path in Somerset

A new stretch of path has opened in Somerset as part of a national trail around England's coast.

The 58-mile (93km) route follows the coast from Brean Down to Burnham-on-Sea before heading to Bridgwater along the River Parrett and ending in Minehead.

Coastal access rights also provide walkers with access to beaches and cliffs along the route.

The England Coast Path is opening in sections with all 2,700 miles (4,345km) expected to be complete by 2020.

Image caption The Somerset stretch of the England Coast Path takes walkers from Brean Down to Minehead

Approval for the new stretch in Somerset was granted by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss.

Rural Affairs Minister Rory Stewart said: "Walkers can now roam the glorious coast all the way from the heights of Brean Down to Exmoor National Park at Minehead, taking in the astonishing beauty of Somerset along the way."

Image caption The new path opens up 58 miles (93km) of cliff tops and beaches to walkers

In Doniford a 16 yard (15m) footbridge has been built over the river Swill creating a walking route between the two sides of the village, the nearby West Somerset Railway or onwards down the coast.

It is the first time such a major piece of infrastructure has been built for the England Coast Path.

Image caption The coast path is opening in sections and is due to be complete in 2020

Work is already under way on more than half the path, described by Natural England's Chairman Andrew Sells as "the most significant rights of way project for a generation".

Once completed, the England Coast Path will be the longest National Trail.

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