Hesketh Out Marsh. Photo by Natural England

Southport will be an integral part of a brand new 72-mile (115km) walkway along England’s coastline between Merseyside and Lancashire.

The new coastal route will see Natural England create a route linking Cleveleys near Blackpool with the Pier Head in Liverpool. 

Walkers would be able to enjoy some stunning scenery and landmarks along the way, including Southport Pier, the RSPB wildlife reserves in Hesketh Bank and Marshside and Antony Gormley’s Iron Men statues at Crosby Beach. 

It is hoped the scheme will attract more visitors into Southport, providing a boost for local hoteliers, restaurateurs and shop owners through a new form of eco tourism.

If approved, it would be part of the 2,700-mile England Coastal Path plan.

The work will also see a path built for the first time linking the city of Preston with the coast.

It is the second phase of the wider route through Lancashire after the pathway between Cleveleys and Silecroft in Cumbria was revealed in January.

Ginny Hinton, Natural England’s area manager for Cheshire to Lancashire said: “This new stretch provides wonderful opportunities for locals and visitors to get up close to wildlife in some of the numerous nature reserves on the paths.”

Michael Green, cabinet member for environment and planning at Lancashire County Council, described the plans as “exciting”.

Andrew Brockbank, National Trust countryside manager at Formby said he would follow existing natural paths and dune land, providing spectacular views.

An eight-week public consultation is due to end in December.

Other stretches of pathway are already open in Cumbria, Norfolk, Dorset, Kent, Somerset, Yorkshire, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Lincolnshire.

Natural England said it expects work to be under way – and hopefully completed – by the end of 2021.

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