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Coast Path improvements proposed across Exmoor

Lynmouth. Photographer Jaap GaasenbeekThe Association welcomes Natural England’s proposals to improve the Coast Path between Minehead and Combe Martin that were published today.

Today Natural England published its proposals for improved access to the coast between Minehead and Combe Martin. This is part of Natural England’s work to create a continuous walking route around England’s coastline, by 2020 as set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

The Association’s welcomes these proposals as (assuming they are approved by the Secretary of State) in a number of locations it will move the existing route of the Coast Path onto routes that that we agree are more scenic. Of particular benefit will be the formalising of the ‘Rugged Coast Path’ and path to Hurlstone Point between North Hill (near Minehead) and Bossington as the official Coast Path route. Elsewhere improvements are proposed immediately west of Porlock Weir, around Glenthorne, either side of Lee Abbey, and the approach to Combe Martin.

Natural England has been consulting with the Association, landowners and many other interested parties to develop these proposals which seek to balance the desire of the public for an attractive coastal route whilst minimising the impact that use of the path has on landowners.

Natural England will be formally seeking comments on the proposals between now and August 15th.  Following this the next steps in the process will be that if objections are received these will be forwarded for consideration by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. The inspector will then make recommendations to the Secretary of State in respect of each one. The Secretary of State will consider all the representations and objections before making a decision about Natural England’s report.

Once the Secretary of State has approved the report, Natural England will start work with Exmoor National Park Authority and Devon County Council on preparing the new paths for public use. The first step will be to contact owners and occupiers of the affected land to discuss the design and location of any new infrastructure which is required such as signs and gates. When the work is complete, the new access rights will be brought into force along the route and adjoining spreading room. This is expected to happen during 2018.

If you would like to see more about the proposals, route maps and the full report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/england-coast-path-minehead-to-combe-martin

Although less of an issue on Exmoor than on other stretches of our Coast Path is that once implemented, the Coastal Access legislation will make it much easier and quicker in most locations to reinstate the Path if it is severed by coastal erosion.

Published on: June 20, 2017