The Northumberland Coast Path, a 62 mile continuous coastal footpath from Cresswell to Berwick, has been officially open for ten years.
On Sunday, the former chair of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, Pat Scott, joined current chair Cllr John Woodman to cut a cake to mark the milestone.
The celebration took place at the Jolly Fisherman pub in Craster, where the coast path actually passes through the garden of the pub, making it the ideal place to hold a birthday party.
Pat and John were joined by staff and members from the AONB Partnership and people from businesses taking part in the path’s new passport scheme.
John said “The Northumberland Coast Path has brought many thousands of people from all over the world to walk along our beautiful coastline. Some people take a week or more and walk the whole length, others complete short sections when they can and many more people walk a bit of the path as part of their holiday. However people walk it, we know that exploring the coast on foot is the best way to enjoy it.
“With at least nine different companies offering walking holidays on the coast path it also contributes hugely to the local economy and these visitors leave their cars behind so don’t exacerbate the car-parking problems that many of our villages have.
“I was delighted that Pat Scott came along to celebrate with us, Pat was a great advocate for the creation of the route.”
As part of the tenth anniversary year, a new passport scheme has been introduced for walkers who get their passport stamped when they visit local businesses along the route.
These businesses are ‘walker friendly’ and are called ‘Welcome Ports’ – 36 businesses are already taking part in the scheme.
The creation of a continuous coastal path was made possible with an EU Interreg IIB grant as part of the ‘North Sea Trail’ project which created lengths of coastal walking routes in 27 areas around the North Sea basin.
The path is managed by the AONB Partnership and looked after on a day-to-day basis by Northumberland County Council. The official guidebook for the path is published by the AONB Partnership and is available from Tourist Information Centres and many other places on the coast.
Also as part of the celebrations, Iain Robson from the AONB Partnership, who implemented the project that created the path, has been leading a series of guided walks along the entire length of the trail.
You can find out more about the Northumberland Coast Path on the official website www.northumberlandcoastpath.org