'I want to be first to walk whole coast on foot'

A keen explorer hopes to be the first person on record to navigate the British coastline entirely on foot.

Linzi Bell, from Brightlingsea, Essex, started her 306-day challenge in Greenwich on 1 March and has so far walked through 16 counties.

Before taking on the epic 7,178 mile (11,552 km) walk, she contacted Guinness World Records and now hopes to set a new world record as the first person to walk the British coastline without travelling on any ferries.

She is raising money for the mental health charity Mind and National Trails which maintains trails across England and Wales.

The 46-year-old said she had been blown away by the kindness of the hundreds of people she has met on her adventure, many of whom have offered her a safe place to stay for the night.

"I knew it would be a life changer of an experience but I am truly humbled every single day," she said.

It is not the first time Ms Bell has taken on a hiking challenge.

She started hiking more after the lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic and has walked from France to Spain, but this is her biggest challenge yet and will see her walk the equivalent distance of more than 270 marathons.

Ms Bell wanted to support Mind after seeing how spending time outdoors can improve the mental health of others.

"Being with nature makes me feel like a superhero and I’d seen it transform people’s lives when they are with nature," she said.

"I’ve lost people in my life. I’ve had people struggle with addiction and depression around me and by me helping them get outdoors I’ve seen a huge difference.

"That is a massive drive for me to help people discover nature and all of its beautiful wellbeing benefits."

Ms Bell is looking forward to celebrating the end of her challenge with a "hometown hike" as she passes through Brightlingsea on 21 December before returning to Greenwich on New Year’s Eve.

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