Studies show that just breathing it in helps the brain and body produce the chemicals you need to keep you balanced, well and healthy
It’s official – sea air is good for you, and to help you and your family enjoy some of that free, restorative healing potion over the school holidays, the outdoor retailer TOG24 has revealed the Top 10 family coastal walks in England.
While we all know that being by the sea is good for us, TOG24 has worked with Dr Rachel Taylor, a leading neuroscientist, who has revealed why it’s beneficial with a startling statistic that will get you thinking.
“When people breathe in the sea air, the ions contained in it help the electrical functionality of the brain by 47%* as well as creating new neural pathways, which simply put allows you to think with more clarity.”
“The coast is an environment for everyone and is particularly great for teenagers struggling with self-esteem,” said Dr Rachel Taylor. “When you look around you and connect with the environment, you realise there is something larger than you. Experiencing awe and wonder increases a sense of wellbeing plus inspires creativity. The sea air blows the sulks as well as the cobwebs away!”
The good news is that just one day at the sea will start this process.
This year TOG24 – a proudly Yorkshire brand which makes outdoor kit for the whole family – celebrates its 65th anniversary. The third-generation family brand is celebrating this milestone by supporting the King Charles III England Coastal Path. When the path is completed next year, it will be the longest-managed coastal path in the UK at 2,700 miles and will go all the way around the coast of England.
“The English coastline is stunning and truly awe-inspiring for anyone who spends time there. Luckily, no one in England lives further than 84 miles from the sea, so it really is on all our doorsteps,” explains Mark Ward, Managing Director of TOG24.
TOG24 has partnered with the walking and wellbeing app ‘GoJauntly’ to find the best family-friendly coastal walks along the new King Charles III England Coast Path. To download the walks, visit www.tog24.com.
The walks selected include ‘Seascape to Old Town’ in Ilfracombe, ‘Ferrybridge to Castle Cove’ in West Yorkshire and ‘Chapel St Leonards to Chapel Point’ in Lincolnshire’, which have rightly made the list for their breathtaking beauty and points of interest along the way for kids of all ages.
Dr Rachel has provided some further amazing neuroscience facts, so you can see how positive all the walks can be whether you’re up near the Scottish borders or down in the depths of Cornwall.
1. Chapel St Leonards to Chapel Point, Lincolnshire
This accessible coastal walk is packed with family-friendly activities, sandy beaches and remarkable viewpoints before reaching its final stop at the stunning North Sea Observatory.
“Walking the route together as a family will disconnect the kids from their screens and reconnect them with the family,” says Dr Taylor. “Walking in the fresh air raises oxytocin levels, the in-group hormone. If you feel you don’t belong or are not part of something, you don’t produce oxytocin. This family walk by the sea will release oxytocin and make everyone feel they belong.”
Head towards the beachfront via the amusements on The Pullover. Note that there is a short but steep incline, but once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible sweeping panoramas of the coastline.
The fauna-lined promenade offers a wheelchair-accessible route along which kids and adults alike can enjoy a traditional Punch and Judy show. Alternatively, follow the sand and shingle beach along until the observatory begins to creep into view.
The North Sea Observatory is located on Chapel Point, is open all year round and can be accessed by both stairs and ramp. Inside you’ll be able to refuel at the Seascape Cafe or get your culture fix at the observatory’s art gallery.
2. Anderby Creek to Wolla Bank Beach, Lincolnshire
Winding sand dunes, bird spotting and even a Cloud Bar feature in this two mile-long circular walk from Anderby Creek to Wolla Bank Beach.
Grab picnic supplies from the Anderby Beach Cafe and head up the (steep) path to the shore. On your left, you’ll find The Cloud Bar — the world’s first dedicated cloud observation platform — where visitors can try their hand at cloud spotting using the five rotating cloud mirrors.
At this point, Dr Rachel urges people to look up. “When you look to the sky, it gives a signal to the brain from your eyes to wake up. You will feel instantly energised.”
Then, follow the King Charles III England Coast Path, this will take you to the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park, where eight Wildlife Trust nature reserves offer little ones the chance to spot all kinds of creatures.
The next landmark is the Round & Round House, an ideal stop-off point that boasts breathtaking views across the North Sea. It’s also popular with avid birdwatchers, so pack those binoculars and see what flies by.
As you leave the beach, amble through the cascading sand dunes and take a break on one of the wooden picnic benches. The final portion of the route veers down a grassy path alongside Anderby Marsh before conveniently looping back to the Round & Round House and beachfront.
3. Ferrybridge to Castle Cove Cruise, Dorset
This former coastal railway trail is filled with striking landscapes, glorious gardens and even a castle. It’s also mostly step-free apart from beach access.
Rodwell Trail’s tarmac path stretches along the coast, presenting sensational views across Small Mouth Bay to the Island of Portland. The sandy beach regularly attracts waves of paddle boarders and is great for taking a dip should the weather allow.
The beach is a great place to ground and earth your circadian rhythm, your body’s 24-hour cycle. Dr Rachel says feeling the sand beneath your feet and between your toes has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation in the brain and body, plus it helps connect the earth with the 7,000 nerve endings you have in your feet.
Continue on for views of the Victorian Portland Harbour, and a little further along you can even catch a glimpse of the undulating cliffs of the UNESCO Jurassic Coast on a clear day.
Head past Castle Cove Sailing Club away from the coast and you’ll soon reach the tropical oasis of Sandsfoot Gardens. Here history buffs will find the castle’s remains, and while the structure is currently closed due to coastal erosion, there are various information boards scattered around that help bring its story to life.
4. Tour Weymouth Beach & Nothe Gardens, Dorset
You can ensure you get your 7,500 steps in around here. Contrary to popular belief, getting 7,500 steps in per day is the magic number that gives the highest level of health benefits, including reducing all causes of mortality. Dr Rachel is a less is more neuroscientist, especially in times when we pack so much into our days, so go for 7,500 and reap the rewards on this walk.
With traditional seaside attractions and the gorgeous old town to explore, this is another perfect afternoon adventure for the whole family.
Beginning at Weymouth train station, the first checkpoint is the seafront Grade II listed Queen Jubilee Clock, built in 1888 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
As you make your way along the promenade, there are plenty of places to sit and grab an ice cream, along with amusements, fairground rides and even Weymouth’s Sandworld, which is filled with a series of impressive sand sculptures.
Eventually, you’ll reach Alexandra Gardens, where you’ll find yet more amusements, and St Alban Street, a lovely narrow road filled with independent businesses and cafes.
After some time perusing, Nothe Gardens’ coastal path provides a wonderful vantage point across the whole town, and a nature trail invites kids to spot the eight animals and insects hidden close to the playground.
5. Trundle High at Torrs & Tunnel Low, North Devon
Undoubtedly one of the best cliff walks in North Devon, this route sprawls through Victorian pathways and finishes up at the historic tidal pools.
Taking the King Charles III England Coast Path, there’s a myriad of awe-inspiring views out to the Arganite Bay and across the Bristol Channel. After zigzagging through the cliff’s paths, the summit offers a remarkable 360 vantage point and features a toposcope designed by the Arts College.
Work your way back down and the route moves towards the towering Grade II listed Bath House. Next to this is the entrance to the subterranean beach tunnels — originally carved by Welsh miners in the 1820s. The public can now explore these caverns for a small entry fee.
Finally, make your way to the former ladies’ beach and bathing pool — the pool can still be used at low tide and is the ideal way to unwind after your travels.
Just immersing yourself in the cold water of the bathing pool will strengthen your cardiovascular health and improve your brain’s ability to concentrate and have better memory function. If that is not enough, cold water has also been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Dr Rachel challenges you to time as long as you can keep yourself immersed in the water, turn it into a game. Make sure you wrap up warmly afterwards to get the full benefit.