Somerset County Council, in partnership with local landowners and managers, have agreed a new route for the England Coast Path between Watchet and Blue Anchor.
This section of the trail has been closed since a cliff fall in 2020 resulted in a section of the path close to Warren Farm being lost to the sea, as well as smaller sections on the trail showing signs of coastal instability.
After the initial temporary closure of the path Somerset County Council assessed the area to establish the potential for future falls and began discussions to find a new, safer route in case of further erosion.
With the new route agreed, work will be starting soon to clear the route and prepare the surface, and add fingerposts, waymarks and signage to mark the trail. Once the works are complete, it is hoped the England Coast Path can be re-opened later this year.
Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Transport and Digital said: “Ensuring that the new trail offered a safe walking route has been our top priority, along with retaining a coastal experience wherever possible.”
“While we understand that this continuing closure has been frustrating for trail users, the presence of some geological faults on this section of our coastline has made finding the right solution key to developing the best outcome. Alongside this, the cooperation of the landowners and managers affected has been crucial in enabling us to negotiate a new walking route.”
In the meantime, Somerset’s Rights of Way Team will be refreshing the diversion signage and maps to ensure that visitors over the summer period are able to walk safely between Watchet and Blue Anchor.
In support of this, walkers are requested to respect the temporary closure, which means that there is no public access following the cliff top between Warren Bay and Blue Anchor. Instead, they are advised to follow the diversion and are reminded to follow the Countryside Code. See www.somerset.gov.uk/coastpath [IP4] and gov.uk/countryside-code.
Somerset County Council works in partnership with Natural England to manage the England Coast Path in Somerset. The National Trail helps attract more visitors to the County and benefits the local economy.