County councillor Rodney Bass, cabinet member for infrastructure, launched the coastal path survey at the Blue Boar in Maldon as part of his campaign for the project."It will certainly attract plenty of tourism to the county and it should help to bring in more money too," Alan added.
In 2012, trekkers on the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile route from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, spent £436 million while on the trail. The income from that route sustains 9,771 full-time jobs and it is hoped that the Essex coastal path will have similar success.
Essex Ramblers will map out ten separate trails to create one unbroken route along the Essex shore, which at 350-miles is England's longest stretch of coast. It is hoped that six of them will be complete within a year, with all ten surveyed within two years.
The Natural England initiative for the rest of the English coastline is due to be completed by 2020. A spokesperson from Natural England said: "We are a nation in love with the coast. "Natural England has recently ramped up our work and taken a lot of new staff on board so that we can finish the coastal trail in time. We're due to start work on six stretches in the Essex section, extending from the Stour Estuary to Burnham on Crouch, between now and March 2016."
Along the Essex coastal route will be large areas of salt marshes, remote coastal stretches that are currently inaccessible and the tourist hotspots of Southend, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze. The first stretch of the National Coastal Path opened in Weymouth in 2012 for people to watch the Olympic sailing competition. Once finished, it will be one of the longest walking routes in Europe. Alan continued: "It should get people to appreciate their country, and this county, again."