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World's longest trek one step closer

Press AssociationPress Association 21/07/2016 Emily Beament

The longest stretch of the England Coast Path, connecting urban Teeside with Yorkshire's dramatic coastline, has opened.

The 109 kilometres of signposted national trail will give walkers new and improved access to the coast from Filey Brigg to Middlesbrough, through the popular resorts of Scarborough and Whitby, government agency Natural England said.

Walkers will be able to enjoy stunning views of the North York Moors and coastline, following much of the coastal section of the Cleveland Way national trail with improvements to the route, as well as industrial heritage.

It is the latest section of the England Coast Path to open, a national trail which when completed will be a 4345km path around the entire English coast - forming the longest continuous walking route in the world.

It is expected to be completed by 2020, with work already under way on 60 per cent of the route, said Natural England which is creating the route.

Natural England chief executive James Cross said: "It's an honour to open this section of coast path near my home town in Teesside.

"This route showcases the diversity of our coastline, from the views over the expansive North York Moors and the winding streets of postcard-perfect villages to our industrial heritage, and diverse wildlife all year round.

"We want people to enjoy exploring all of this coast, using a high-quality, well-signposted route."

A small new section has been created near Staithes to bring the trail closer to headland and opened views down into the harbour, while a footbridge has been restored to reopen a previously blocked section of the Teesdale way.

Along the route there is also new signposting and improvements to the track.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also confirmed the approval of an additional 13km section between Newport Bridge on the Tees and North Gare, near Hartlepool.

This stretch will link the new 109km section with 55km along the Durham coast which is already open - meaning walkers will be able to enjoy 177km of continuous England Coast Path from Filey to South Bents.

Environment minister Therese Coffey said: "With none of us living further than 121km from the sea - many much closer - thousands of people are already exploring and enjoying our spectacular coastline thanks to new stretches of coastal path across the country.

"Middlesbrough's old docklands and harbours represent an important and iconic part of the region's history, and this picturesque stretch of coastline will allow the generations of our future to connect with the landscapes of our past."

The latest section opens just two days after a 106km stretch taking in the White Cliffs of Dover and the supposed landing place in Britain of Julius Caesar became the first part of the national trail to open in the south east of England.

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