The Drift Café on Druridge Bay has become the first business on the Northumberland Coast Path to become a ‘Welcome Port’ for the path’s new Passport scheme.
The newly launched passport is designed to be carried by walkers on the Coast Path who will collect stamps at businesses that they visit along the way. These businesses will be ‘Welcome Ports’ offering a warm welcome to walkers and provide advice and information about the trail and the local area.
Duncan Lawrence who owns the Drift Café said “We are very proud to be the first business to sign up to this initiative. A walking route like this is so much more than a line on the ground and great scenery. The service and support that walkers receive from businesses along the way can make a real difference to the quality of their experience.
“Walkers are the perfect visitors; they generally arrive without a car and buy everything they need from local businesses. They leave only money in the local economy and their footsteps in the sand.”
Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, who are behind the new initiative, said “We think that the passport will become a treasured possession, a memento of the walk evoking memories of that friendly B&B, fantastic fish and chips or a lovely ice cream on a sunny day. Collecting stamps as they walk the route will become part of the experience for walkers and we hope it will improve their visit to Northumberland and increase the amount of money they spend in local businesses.
“Like cycling and birdwatching, people don’t have to pay to walk along the coast, but keeping the path and associated infrastructure in good condition does cost money. This scheme helps the businesses that benefit from the route to support its upkeep”.
The Northumberland Coast Path was opened in July 2006 and since then thousands of walkers have completed the sixty mile route from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed contributing millions of pounds to the local economy. The launch of the passport scheme is part of a year-long celebration of the path’s tenth year.
There is a new website – www.northumberlandcoastpath.org and there will be events and guided walks during the summer.
The scheme will be rolled-out to more businesses along the route in the next few weeks. Any business interested in becoming a ‘Welcome Port’ should speak to Iain Robson at the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership on 01670 622660 or email [email protected]