A POPULAR coastal path on the east Durham coast has been rerouted after cracks appeared in the ground along a cliff top.

The route of the England Coast Pathhas been altered, in the interests of public safety, between the Easington Colliery coastal car park and Shippersea Bay. The section was closed last Wednesday morning when cracks appeared in the ground.

The path has been rerouted with signs in place advising of the closure and directing walkers.

Mike Ogden, Durham County Council’s access and rights of way team leader, said: “As soon as we were made aware of the issue with this path, we worked with the National Trust to close it as soon as possible, in the interests of public safety.

“We have put up signs to advise of the closure and also established a signposted diversion route to ensure access to the England Coast Path is not affected.

“People are advised not to enter the closed area for their own safety.”

Eric Wilton, general manager for the National Trust’s South of Tyne property group, said: “A section of the England Coast Path near Easington Colliery in County Durham has become unsafe due to ongoing erosion. This has been aggravated by recent wet weather.

“The National Trust is working closely with Durham County Council to reduce risk to the public.

"A stretch of the footpath where it heads north along the cliff tops from the nature reserve car park towards Shippersea Bay has been closed, and a diversion and safety signage put in place. We’d ask people to please follow the new route and take heed of the warning signs.

“There are currently no plans to reopen this section of the footpath as the land is still moving due to erosion.

"A diversion is in place for now and we’ll reassess the situation once it’s safe to do so. Going forward, if it can’t be reopened, there is provision within the England Coast Path designation to re-route the path to a safe position; in which case the

National Trust will work closely with the Durham County Council public rights of way team to do this.”