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Drift Café is first in the queue for a passport

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Duncan Lawrence from the Drift Café attaching his new Welcome Port sticker Photo: Iain Robson

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 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.

Walkers on the Northumberland Coast Path will carry their passports with them, collecting stamps at businesses that they visit along the way. These businesses will be ‘Welcome Ports’ offering a warm welcome to walkers, they will be able to provide advice and information about the trail and the local area.

As far as we are concerned, walkers are the perfect visitors; they often arrive without a car and because they are travelling light, tend to buy everything that they need from local businesses. They leave only footprints on the beach and lot of money in the local economy.

We think that taking part in the passport scheme and visiting ‘Welcome Ports’ will improve their experience and increase spend in local businesses.

We hope that their passport will become a treasured possession, a memento of their walk evoking memories of ‘that friendly B&B’, ‘those tasty fish and chips eaten on the harbour’ or ‘that refreshing pint’ at the end of a long days walk. Collecting stamps along the way will become part of the experience for walkers.

The Drift Café is right at the start of the route near Cresswell. The owner, Duncan Lawrence, was only too pleased to join the scheme and be the first businesses to take part. Duncan tells me that the Drift Café is the highest ranking restaurant in the whole of Northumberland according to Trip Advisor and as such is always busy. They want to be part of the scheme to connect the business to the Coast Path and support the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure it is an enjoyable experience.

Like walking on the beach, cycling and birdwatching, walking along the Northumberland Coast Path doesn’t cost anything to do. There is however a cost to ensure that the path and associated infrastructure are in good condition. This scheme helps the business that benefit from the scheme to support its upkeep.

The Northumberland Coast Path was opened in July 2006 and since then, thousands of walkers have walked the route 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 and I will be leading guided walks along the path in the summer. Oh… and there will be a birthday cake!

The ‘Welcome Port’ scheme will be rolled out to more businesses in the coming weeks. Any businesses interested in taking part should contact us on 01670 622660 or email coastaonb@northumberland.gov.uk

Iain Robson

Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership

Northumberland Coast Path

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The Drift Café near Cresswell Photo: Iain Robson
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