What is the Coast to Coast Walk?

The Coast to Coast walk is probably the most popular long distance walk in the UK, it is certainly one of the most well known and best loved of all long distance footpaths. Thousands of people walk the route each year; starting out in St. Bees on England’s west coast in Cumbria and walking 190 miles to the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast in Yorkshire. In between they pass through three beautiful National Parks; the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors.

The path follows public rights of way across hills and valleys, rivers and moorland, avoiding large towns and villages as much as possible and managing to avoid long stretches of tarmac for almost all of its length.

The route was devised by eminent fellwalker Alfred Wainwright, author of the famous Pictorial Guides to the Lake District. In the early 1970’s he set out to find an alternative long distance walk to the Pennine Way, which at the time was almost the only option for people wanting to walk uninterrupted for several days at a time. The Pennine Way in those days was an almost unrelenting slog through peat bogs and across pathless moorland terrain, something to be endured rather than enjoyed – at least in the view of many walkers at the time.

Wainwright wanted to offer an alternative; a route that passed through the most majestic scenery England had to offer, using already established footpaths and starting and ending in beautiful seaside villages. He described the route from west to east, to take advantage of the prevailing weather and this is the direction most people choose to walk it. A full description can be found in our Route pages.

Despite recent efforts by the Wainwright Society and Striding Edge, it is still not recognised as a National Trail and it seems unlikely to become one for the foreseeable future at least. Natural England, who provide the government funding for the National Trail network have already made it clear that there is no new money for additional Trails and with the current economic climate this is unlikely to change.

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