Coastal Path South – General and Isle of Wight Consultation.

Report of progress 27 May 2020

Due to Covid 19 all consultation dates had been put on hold until further notice so we did not submit our comments on 13th May as planned. It has now been announced that all consultations should be submitted by 9th June 2020.

While Natural England (NE) have improved access in a number of areas with appropriate protections there is an important 1.5mile stretch from Newtown to Thorness Bay which could be improved, again with safeguards,( MOD land  and a wood of archaeological / environmental interest) There is also a section past Quarr which could be better and there is a small section at Bembridge which may be better routed slightly inland at the point.

Apart from the Newtown to Thorness section the other long and important gap on the Solent Shore is between East Cowes and Fishbourne but this is not yet out for consultation.

NE have issued further information on how they are dealing with the Coastal margin which is set out below. As far as we can see they now tend to restrict all public access in the coastal margin in any area that has a Marine Protection  designation of any sort including birds, which is a change from earlier sections of the path and welcomed, even though they do not say explicitly below. They have also produced a map of where they have got to all round the country which you may find interesting and which I have attached. Click on the map image above  if you want to look more closely.

Coastal margin

As part of this work a ‘coastal margin’ is being identified. The margin includes all land between the trail and the sea. It may also extend inland from the trail if:

  • it’s a type of coastal land identified in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act), such as beach, dune or cliff
  • there are existing access rights under section 15 of the CROW Act
  • Natural England and the landowner agree to follow a clear physical feature landward of the trail

In the coastal margin, you’ll usually have new rights to enjoy areas like beaches. Some areas will not have such rights because they’re:

  • excepted land, such as cropped land or buildings and their courtyards or gardens
  • not suitable for public access, such as a saltmarsh or mudflat

Other parts of the coastal margin may be steep, unstable and not safe to access. You must take care of your own safety and look out for local notices.