Footpath & Access Information

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FOOTPATH WORK IS NEVER DONE, THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO!

For a variety of reasons, Public Footpaths become blocked, difficult or impossible to use, and have been known to completely disappear!

Whatever your query or complaint it is possible to e-mail or post it to the Area Footpath Secretary who will forward it to the relevant local Group Footpath Officer. Help us to help you! Or of course you can report it direcly to Devon County Council via their website.

Please submit if possible, a 6 digit grid reference to help with locating the problem on a map. The Parish concerned, and the Footpath number would also be helpful.

Our Footpath Secretary is:-

Jenny Worsfold
8b, Whitnage Road
Sampford Peverell
Tiverton
Devon
EX16 7BU
Tel:- 01884 821805

Contact:-  Devon Area Footpath Secretary

News about our Rights of Way.

We are very fortunate to live in a county which values its Public Rights of Way but budget cuts are inevitably being felt here too. As users of the Rights of Way we plan to "do our bit" to keep the paths in good order. Plants are always growing, even at this time of year, so please carry secateurs while out walking.  Just clearing overhanging brambles and blocked stiles as you go is one of the best ways we can help.

 

Lost Ways.

Several of our members have attended workshops on Lost Ways.  There are lost paths throughout Devon which we need to claim before 1st January 2026.  That may sound a long way off, but claiming a footpath can be a long and time consuming process.  If you have time to spare and would be interested in helping, please do contact your local Ramblers group.

There willbe a Hearing relating to Restricted Byway No. 50, East Down, at 10 am on Tuesday 6th August 2019, at East Down Old School, East Down, Barnstaple, EX31 4LX

 

Footpath Officers' meetings.

Our next Footpath Officers meeting will be on 5th October 2019, at 10am in the Phoenix Hall, Bovey Tracey.  You are welcome to come along if you have an interest in footpaths - it is not necessary to be Footpath officer for your group.

Natural England Update - Access to the coast.

We are fortunate in Devon in that we already have a generally excellent coastal footpath but elsewhere in the country is not so fortunate. Natural England are currently producing proposals for a coastal footpath and coastal access around all of England. In March 2016 they published their proposals for the section between Lyme Regis and Kingswear. Not surprisingly , the proposal is to adopt the present coastal footpath as the route of the new coast path.The later legislation provides access also to beaches and spreading room as well as the path itself. You can look at on the Natural England website via this link.

The Coast Path in Devon

We are generally well served by the existing coastal footpath in Devon but in  2017 Natural England published its proposals regarding 2 sections of  the existing coast path, that is, the sections from Minehead to Combe Martin and from Lyme Regis to Kingswear. Not surprisingly the proposals adopted the line of the existing coastal path almost in its entirety but Ramblers submitted strong representations for one  part where we considered a more coastal route is achievable. Following a period of public consultation (now closed) the Natural England proposals and the objections and representations which were made are being considered by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. A final decision is expected by the end of this year but there is no certainty over that.

Natural England is now deliberating on its proposals for the remaining sections of the Devon Coast path, on the south coast from Kingswear to Cremyll on the River Tamar and on the north coast, from Combe Martin to Marsland Mouth on the Devon  / Cornwall border). The proposals are expected to be published in 2019.

This is the process under the 2006 Marine and Coastal Access legislation.

It is important perhaps to realise that this legislation provides more than a linear coastal footpath. Rather it provides a coastal access margin whereby (with a few exceptions) the land seaward of the line of the footpath to the low water mark becomes “access land” where the public will have a right to walk. This will provide a legal right to access beaches where in the past access may have been tolerated or permitted but for which there was no legal right. The coastal access margin may also extend inland from the line of the footpath to the nearest boundary of farmland or development.

The statutory process is, as might be expected, a long drawn out affair with Natural England staff consulting with landowners and eventually producing proposals in a report for agreement by the Secretary of State for the Environment. You may like to look at an example of a report. The link below should take you to the report for the now opened section of the coast path from Brean Down to Minehead.

A walk with your dog !

There are very few places in Devon where you cannot take your dog for a walk but one such area, which is access land under the Countryside and Right of Way Act (The CroW Act), is the West Dart River valley on Dartmoor, south-easterly and easterly from Two Bridges. An area of wild country yet rarely walked by great numbers of people. In 2003 Dartmoor National Park made a direction under the CroW Act to exclude dogs from this area on nature conservation grounds. The Direction has to be reviewed every 5 years and is currently under review with a closing date of 2 July 2018. On behalf of Ramblers I have objected to this Direction when it was first made and at each of the subsequent reviews. The Direction is  over – restrictive and does not accord with the general principle of  the “least restrictive option”  which is supposed to apply in such cases. Any comments you may wish to make can be sent to Jennifer Manning, Assistant Access and Recreation Officer, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ13 9JQ, or email recreation@dartmoor.gov.uk

John Skinner  Area Access Officer