“ABOUT – MAPS”
This blog, by way of a letter to our six Grandchildren, Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie, records my progress walking the Coastline of England since November 2013. The actual start date is slightly vague because previously, I had been irregularly walking Offa’s Dyke Path, roughly following the English/Welsh Border finishing in the North at Prestatyn and The Old Severn Bridge at Chepstow in the South. We live in Shropshire, very close to the most beautiful stretches of Offa’s Dyke trail, and access to the route was easy, using The OS Trail Guides as the Bible, aided and abetted by the Stretch Maps by Natural England. Their Maps of the ENGLISH COAST PATH follow below.
Only the stretches in green represent the full and final England Coast Path (subject to erosion of course) – the other colours represent the intended route but as yet , for various reasons are incomplete . Consequently , as this is an ongoing process until 2020, my route was established as a best guess between established existing coast paths and/or the O/S COAST PATHS.
I reproduce English Nature’s Maps below with my variation notes below each map. I did not walk the coast in any regular fashion, instead choosing to be guided by weather forecasts and prevailing winds when to my advantage.
I progressed the walk from the finish of Offa’s Dyke Trail at Prestatyn heading eventually North up the west coast to Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall where I crossed over to the East Coast. At the Southern finish of Offa’s Dyke at Chepstow I crossed the upper Severn bridge heading for the S W Coast Path eventually completing at Land’s End – meeting myself coming from the East. Giving rise to the race of the Crimson Worms to Lget to Land’s End first.
At some stage I decided to venture further than the well worn track carved out by Offa and millions of his followers, so I awarded myself 182 miles or so (as measured by The O S Trail Guide), to start my walking round England account, and considered the English Circumnavigation well under way, variously walking Northwards on the North West Coast and towards the S W Coast Path Southwards , the choice of venue depending on the weather and prevailing wind.
Around this time I became aware that Natural England had plans for The England Coast Path, and although it won’t be fully in place until 2020, decided to second guess the proposed route.
When I got to the top of the English North West Coast I turned right towards Carlisle and crossed the top of England using Hadrian’s Wall already laid out for me. On reaching Wallsend, Newcastle another sharp right turn (Southwards) took me down the East Coast of England where I have met myself coming from the other direction. I have at last linked up the mere twelve miles or so between Harwich to Walton on the Naze. Had I turned left (Northwards) I would have completed to Berwick’s border with Scotland by now; but I didn’t so that delight is still to come.
Elsewhere, going South from Chepstow crossing the Severn Bridge and The Avonmouth Viaduct I am approaching St Ives on the Northern S W Coast Path.
To add to the confusion. I started another front attacking the Thames Path and have completed The Thames Estuary from Walton on the Naze via Clacton, Mersea Island, Maldon, Foulness Island, Southend, Canvey Island and Woolwich, Grain, Sheppey and Thannet along the South Coast via The Isle Of Wight, to Charlestown near St Austell on the Southern SouthWest Coast Path .
In total, at the time of writing (mid June 2017), I have spent 256 days so far walking 3,230 miles, including ‘lost’ miles, and I estimate under 140 miles to go, or about 12days walking, allowing for circuitous routes and a pretty strenuous run in on the S W Coast Path and the North East Coast heading for Berwick upon Tweed. I hasten to add those 256 days are spread over more than three years. The finale is scheduled for November 2017 at the deep end of Southend Pier, following a family Conga from the shallow end. I suspect Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie will be towing me the mile and a third length of the Pier.
I could be more specific about the date, and time, but with nearly140 miles still to go, allow me a bit of leeway …
Get in touch if you want to join in – firstname.lastname@example.org – it’s all pretty random – except I’m very strict about completing every last yard …..
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