NATURAL England has opened the latest stretch of the England Coast Path, giving walkers uninterrupted access to 44 miles of coastline between South Bents and Amble and providing a boost for the local economy.

Tyneside and Northumberland’s first open section of the England Coast Path will enable people to explore the coast around the River Tyne and into Northumberland, linking the beaches of Druridge Bay to the resorts and ports further south.

Visitors and locals will find improved access and signposts along the route. Walkers will also be able to access 11 bathing waters, eight of which are rated as ‘excellent’, including Blyth’s South Beach.

The South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Northumberland stretch is the tenth section of Natural England’s flagship England Coast Path project to open and offers local shops, pubs and hotels the opportunity to benefit from the £381m spent each year by visitors to English coastal paths.

Rural Minister Lord Gardiner, who attended the path opening, said: “With Northumberland home to some of the country’s most breath-taking coastal scenery, the new path makes it easy for all to access this beautiful area.”

The new path takes account of the area’s important coastal habitats, and was designed to complement the existing trails and management in place, providing a clear, well-maintained route.

Natural England is working to establish a 2,700-mile path around the entire English coastline and work is now under way on all of the route.

When completed, it will be the longest continuous coastal walking route in the world. It will also become a National Trail – the nation’s finest and most popular long-distance paths.