Walkers can look forward to enjoying a new National Trail as the Government reaffirms its commitment to a continuous path around England’s coast following our successful One Coast For All campaign.
The campaign has been fighting to ensure the inspiring project wasn’t side-lined by spending cuts. We spoke out about the importance of the coast path on Newsnight in August and produced a report making The Case for Coast which we delivered to MPs in Westminster from an ice cream van in September.
Our supporters have also been instrumental in the Government’s turnaround on the England Coast Path, writing to their MP in support of the coast path, signing our One Coast For All petition and making the case for the England Coast Path in local press.
Thanks to this determined lobbying, the Government listened to our concerns. “We will be implementing coastal access step by step,” Environment Minister Dan Rogerson confirmed in a Commons debate on 10 October, adding “The key issue for us is pushing forward this project”.
Proposals for a new stretch of the path on the Somerset coast were revealed on 17 October, followed closely by plans for a section of coast path in Kent on 28 October. Natural England has also now produced a map which shows that work will have started on 75% of the coast path by 2016.
The Government is also now reconsidering its decision to exclude the Isle of Wight – England’s largest island – from the England Coast Path as the result of a determined campaign by the Isle of Wight Ramblers.
“We’re thrilled to see the England Coast Path is back on the Government’s agenda,” said Ramblers Campaigns Officer Anastasia French. “It’s now important that this level of enthusiasm is maintained so that the coast path is seen through to its completion.”
“Our volunteers have been working with Natural England to create the best possible route for walkers and local communities,” added Anastasia. “We won’t stop until our entire coast is opened up for everyone to enjoy.”
You can show your support for the England Coast Path by signing our One Coast For All petition or voting for the campaign in the TGO Awards ‘Environmental or Access Initiative of the Year’ category (choose ‘Ramblers coastal access campaign’) before 10 November.
Find out more about the England Coast Path in our Walking matters news section.