We’re fast approaching the beginning of a mass migration on these islands.
Every Easter marks the start of an exodus to the coast. The two week break when the schools are off sees a huge movement of people via road and rail to the seaside. Traffic jams and delayed trains don’t dampen our spirits with the coastline in reach.
Yes people visit the coast all year round but there is something symbolic about going to the coastline at this time of the year. The clocks will have changed (giving you that precious extra hour of daylight) and spring has sprung (or is nearly there) as nature comes alive in all of its colourful glory.
Taking the sea air has become a bit of a national obsession since Victorian times. There is definitely something so refreshing about going to the coast that helps to de-stress us and makes us feel alive.
Pretty much all my life I’ve been going to the coastline. Like millions of other Brits I love to paddle in the sea and feel the sand between my toes.
But there is something pretty special about going on a coastal walk. We’re so lucky to have some of the most beautiful coastline in the world.
The opening up of the coastal footpath around the Welsh coast was a world first. Its created a chance to literally wander for hundreds of miles, exploring some of the jewels of the British coastline such as Rhossili and Barafundle – owned by the National Trust.
And in the South West of England a footpath follows the drama of a coast from Dorset all the way round to Somerset. I can’t get enough of spending time clambering up and down hills along this coast or stumbling across a cove or little estuary. The region for me is defined by its coast and the two big cities – Bristol and Plymouth – have been shaped by the sea. We also now have the promise that we will have a footpath around the coast of England by 2020.
Walking along a coast gives you a deep sense of the topography and the rich history of our shoreline. You can travel through geological time, stop off at pubs hemmed in against a narrow strip of land or get a sense of the military back story of our coastline over the centuries.
In barely a few generations the coast has gone from a place of work and often fear (invasion, pirates) to a place of leisure; a place that we have become so familiar with by walking its contours.
This Easter if you’re visiting the coast see how your connection with the seaside blossoms through your footsteps. Take the time to stop and soak up this sensory experience – the sights, the sounds, the smells and taste. You’ll see the coast anew, I can assure you.