TOURISM hotspots in south Cumbria are included in the plans to improve public access to the North West coastline.

Natural England has revealed a proposal for a 125-mile stretch of coastal path between Silecroft, near Millom and Cleveleys on the Fylde coast.

The path will also take in the Duddon estuary and Morecambe Bay, including Cartmel and the Furness Peninsula.

These proposals cover the final 71 miles of the England Coast Path in Cumbria and the first 54 miles of the Lancashire coast. The plans include 27 miles of new path, where people could not previously access the coast.

In Cumbria, the planned route between Silecroft and Silverdale includes parts of the Lake District National Park, circuits the impressive lagoon at Hodbarrow and the sand dunes at Sandscale Haws, and introduces significant new access around the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas and the Leven Estuary.

Cartmel councillor Michael Cornah, said: “The council policy is to promote any tourism for the area. This pathway provides that, and it will only encourage more people to come and visit the area.

“The council here is always keen to encourage any ways to improve the rural economy which is has the potential to do.

“The more ways there are to do this the better.”

In Cumbria, work to prepare the Whitehaven to Silecroft and Walney Island stretches for opening should be complete later this year, joining the Allonby to Whitehaven stretch which was opened in 2014.

Helen Wall, South Walney councillor, said: “I have been involved in this since the beginning as I am the Cumbria representative for the Cumbria and Lakes Local Access Forum. I think it is a brilliant initiative.

“They have worked so hard to get this done and hats off to Natural England for taking this on.

“It is a really good thing to give people access to these areas and I am delighted about it.

“They decided to give Walney its own path as well because it is such a special place, which is really good for this area."

There is now a period of eight weeks for the public to have their say on the proposals. If approved, this route will become part of the England Coast Path – the 2,700-mile-long distance walking route and England’s newest National Trail currently being developed around the entire English coast by Natural England.

Chris Kaighin, Natural England’s area manager for Cumbria, said: “The proposed route showcases the Cumbria and Lancashire coastline, from celebrating our industrial heritage at Barrow-in-Furness, to capturing local beauty spots such as the viewpoint of Humphrey Head”.