With the news that England's entire coastline is set to become accessible for the first time thanks to the completion of the England Coast Path, you might be inspired to don your hiking boots and embark on a walking holiday in 2020. To help you make tracks, we've picked some of the newest and best coastal trails around the world.
The Hump Ridge Track was named New Zealand's 11th Great Walk in 2019. A 61km (40 mile) loop through Fiordland National Park, in New Zealand's South Island, it offers ramblers a mix of coastal forest and mountain scenery, with sweeping views of the Southern Ocean and Stewart Island. Only some stretches are open to the public now though. The full signposted trail won't be completed until 2022. As with the other Great Walks, the Hump Ridge is meant to be undertaken as a multi-day track, requiring overnight stays along the way.
Japan's newest coastal walk, established in June 2019, is a series of trails that wind through the Pacific coast of Japan's Tohoku region. It offers hikers the chance to get off-the-beaten-track, as well as support communities still in recovery mode following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. When Lonely Planet writer James Clark visited the 1000km-long (621 mile) trail in November, he claimed it was the "best hike" he'd ever done; awed by its otherworldly landscapes and the resilience of the communities he encountered along the way. The trail takes 44 days to complete on foot but can be tackled in more manageable, bite-size stretches with accommodation options throughout.
Grand Sentier de la Côte Bleue, France
The Grand Sentier de la Côte Bleue (or the Big Blue Coast Trail) is a new 62km (38 miles) hiking path that connects Marseille and Martigues in the south of France, with almost continuous sea views gracing the entire route. Hugging the shimmering shoreline of the Provence-Côte d’Azur, the trail offers a bounty of striking vistas as it winds through the fishing villages-cum-holiday resorts of the south. The official hiking path is fairly new, having been unveiled in 2018 but is made up of 17 other long-established hiking routes, which vary between 6km (3.7 miles) and 24km (15 miles) in length.
Pismo Preserve is a new conservation area in San Luis Obisbo that opened to the public earlier this year by the non-profit Land Conservancy as a hiking and biking trail. Stretching 11 miles (17.7km) across the hills above Pismo Beach, the 900-acre reserve runs through oak woodlands and canyons, with views of the Pacific Ocean from the Irish Hills down to Point Sal. It's probably the most gentle trail on the list, providing hikers with a more meditative walk on California's Central Coast.