Life's a beach…walk

May 18, 2012, 3:49 PM GMT+0

British public support walking access around entire English coast as Ramblers continue campaign

Almost seven out of ten British people believe the public should have legal access to walk along beaches and along the entire coast of England, subject to people acting responsibly in areas that protect wildlife and property, our poll for walking charity Ramblers has found.

  • 69% of Britons say the public should have access to walk along beaches of the entire coast of England
  • Just over one in ten disagree (11%)

Ramblers says that this indicates the importance of our coastline to people’s enjoyment of the countryside, and shows widespread support for the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, which promised a continuous walking trail around the coast of England after many years of campaigning led by the Ramblers.

One coast for all

Ramblers' ‘One Coast For All’ campaign has urged the Government to keep its promise of creating an English coastal path.

Momentum is building, as earlier this month, government advisory group Natural England announced the next five stretches of coastline which will become part of this new 'National Trail'. In addition to this, Natural England also outlined a long term plan for coastal access which estimates that by 2017 walkers be able to go all the way from Hull to Dorset ‒ via Hadrian’s wall and the Wales Coast Path.

Ramblers argues that a coastal path around England’s coast has the potential to improve public health and well-being by increasing opportunities for walking and encouraging more visits to the coast, as well as giving a boost to struggling coastal towns. The charity estimates that the South West Coast Path generates £307 million a year for the local economy, while in South West Wales the 40 year old Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail is said to generate around £68m a year and has reportedly been shown to create £52 for every £1 spent on maintenance.

New stretches of coastal access delivered include Cumbria (Whitehaven to Silecroft); Dorset (Portland, Rufus Cove to Lyme Regis; Kent (Folkestone to Camber); Norfolk (Sea Palling to Hopton on Sea) and Hartlepool (Hartlepool to Speeton), with preparations set to begin this year.

Island nation

Nicky Philpott, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Ramblers said, “It is fantastic news that the Government is pressing on with its work to create a continuous coastal path. Ramblers has been campaigning hard to secure this level of commitment. This is a major leap forward for us and for all walkers.

As citizens of an island nation, the British public is passionate about their coast and are drawn to it...It is clear people want and deserve better access to their natural heritage and so the announcement of these next stretches is a triumph for access to our coast.”

Find out more about the 'One Coast For All' campaign and sign the Ramblers petition to show your support for coastal walking here

See the survey details and full results here