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On the right path for better coastal walks…

Public to have chance to view plans for new access

ON THE TRAIL: Whitstable Harbour (left) and Ramsgate Royal Harbour (right)
ON THE TRAIL: Whitstable Harbour (left) and Ramsgate Royal Harbour (right)

THE public will have better access to more of the east Kent coastline if proposals from Natural England are accepted. The Government agency has revealed its plans for the 40 kilo. metres of coastline between Ramsgate and Whitstable, part of the evolving England Coast Path, following the Secretary of State’s approval of the 59km Folkestone to Ramsgate stretch, which is set to open fully later this year. Kent County Council will lead the Folkestone to Ramsgate project, contacting owners and occupiers to finalise the design and location of new infrastructure such as signs and gates. The new walking rights will be in place once the route is established. The principle behind the England Coast Path is to provide new rights of access to coastal land. It will be able to ‘roll back’ should cliffs erode or slip, enabling a replacement route to be put in place quickly. The path between Ramsgate and Whitstable will take in Broadstairs, Margate and Reculver if approved. It will ascend the cliffs via The 39 Steps at Broadstairs, made famous in John Buchan’s eponymous novel, and end in Whitstable.

Extensive

The trail will make extensive use of existing paths, including the Viking Coast Trail, the Oyster Bay Trail and the Thanet Coastal Path. It will improve access in places such as Kingsgate, taking walkers off the busy coast road. The Natural England report recommends new sections and outlines improvements to existIng access to the coast between Ramsgate and Whitstable. James Seymour, Natural England’s manager for Kent and Sussex, said:

“We have had discussions with landowners and key organisations along the proposed route — their input has been essential and helped shape the draft proposals. We thank everyone for their time and input so far. Over the next eight weeks, we are inviting all organisations, farmers, local residents, visitors and businesses to have their say. It’s important that all responses are taken into account and we look forward to hearing people’s views.”

Copies of the report and details of how to respond can be viewed in libraries in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Herne Bay and Whitstable, as well as county council and Thanet District Council offices. Natural England will also display a copy at its offices in Ashford. The England Coast Path is due to be completed by 2020 and will be a waymarked 4,700km National Trail around the entire English coast. All representations and objections must be received by Natural England no later than 5pm on Wednesday, May 20.

Herne Bay Times, April 1st 2015

 

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