Sea Palling to Hopton path hailed as tourism boost

Plans announced for a new stretch of the English Coastal Path from Sea Palling to Hopton have been hailed as a major boost for the local economy.

The 20 mile route is one of five new stretches announced by Natural England in a project that will eventually create a national trail costing �4.5m to implement right around the coast of England.

The public will be fully consulted on the new Norfolk stretch which will be developed by Natural England in consultation with the county council. New gates and signs will be installed once the secretary of state has given his approval and the trail is likely to open within three years.

Work on the first section in Norfolk from Weybourne near Sheringham to Sea Palling is already under way and due to open by 2014.

Sally Fishwick, Natural England's senior advisor for coastal access in Norfolk said; 'We have just finished meeting with landowners on the first Norfolk stretch to look at where the route could go. We are now preparing a report and detailed information about the route and will hold a public consultation on the draft proposals later this summer.

'We will begin work on Sea Palling to Hopton later this year. It's vital landowners help us define the course of the route and we will be contacting them first. There will then be a wider public consultation.'

Nicky Philpott, director of policy for Britain's walking charity, Ramblers, said the coastal path would 'not just be a win for walkers but also for struggling coastal towns'.

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Peter Williamson, chairman of Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association, said: 'This section of the coastal path will be a massive boost to the Norfolk offering and help all coastal businesses.'

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