Approval given for coastal access route between Folkestone and Ramsgate
The Secretary of State has approved a new stretch of the England Coast Path, the 59km route will include some of England’s most historical stretches of coastline and give access for people to enjoy the stunning coast between Folkestone and Ramsgate. Work can now begin to prepare the route for opening later in the year.
A map and more details about the route are available here.
The route includes the famous White Cliffs of Dover, as well as the Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve. The new trail will make use of existing coastal paths, such as the Saxon Shore Way, Stour Valley Walk, Thanet Coastal Path, and the North Downs Way National Trail. It will also include new access to the historic site of Richborough port, and will go through Sandwich town.
Kent County Council will lead the implementation work to prepare the new coast path for public use. Once officially opened, the 59km trail will provide new rights of access to coastal land, including foreshore, beaches and cliffs. Crucially, the path will be designed to ‘roll back’ should the cliffs erode, enabling a replacement route to be put in place quickly if necessary, which will maintain a continuous route along the coast.
As well as enabling visitors to enjoy new parts of Kent’s coastline, improved access will help to support local economies by attracting visitors to explore this popular coastline, and boost business for local shops, pubs and hotels.
James Seymour, Natural England Manager for Sussex and Kent, said: “We are delighted this route, which takes in famous and historic landmarks has been given the green light. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in the preparations, as their significant knowledge and expertise has been invaluable in helping to shape the route. We have worked closely with a wide range of local interests in developing the proposals and we now look forward to working with Kent County Council to put the route in place for everyone to enjoy.”
Graham Rusling, Public Rights of Way and Access Service Manager Kent County Council, commented: “Having been part of the initial pilot area for Coastal Access, we are delighted to be able to implement our first stretch. The route brings with it some fantastic new recreational walking opportunities from Sandwich, already an important tourist destination. New access along the Environment Agency’s flood protection defences for Stour estuary opens up a significant new opportunities on the doorstep of the ‘Discovery Park’ business enterprise zone, which can only add to the attractiveness of the area. Equally exciting is the fact that tourists from mainland Europe will be able to walk off the ferries at Dover and straight on to the new National Trail.”
Today Natural England will be publishing proposals for the next stretch – a 40km section between Ramsgate and Whitstable.
Natural England has recently published a map which shows where and when coastal access will be improved over the next five years.
When it is complete by 2020, the England Coast Path will be a way-marked 4700km long National Trail, around the whole English coast. Work is already underway on more sections around England and proposals are being developed in close discussion with local authorities, landowners and businesses