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We have called on Natural England to extend the England Coast Path up the Hamble estuary in Hampshire to cross at the A27 bridge.
Natural England, which is defining the route of the path, proposes to rely on the Hamble-Warsash ferry to provide a suitable crossing point. It has not proposed to extend the path up the Hamble estuary.
We are supporting the Hamble River Valley Forum (HRVF) in Hampshire in its bid to secure the best possible route for the England Coast Path.
We consider the best route to be an extension of the path on both sides of the Hamble estuary, providing an attractive and interesting walk with plenty of opportunities for bird watching. It also ensures that there is a reliable, permanent crossing of the Hamble on the footpath alongside the A27 road bridge.
The ferry makes an enjoyable alternative, but it should not be the official route. It has no timetable, relying on passengers using a mobile phone to call it; it is inaccessible several times during the year due to high tides; it cannot operate in all weather conditions; it is difficult to gain access to it, and it is not viable financially during the winter. It is therefore unsuitable as the sole means of crossing the estuary and could leave walkers stranded.
We hope that Natural England will heed the representations of the society and the local communities and agree to amend the route so that it crosses on the A27 road bridge.