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Natural England is making good progress with coastal access around England. A stretch which is nearing fruition is between Folkestone and Ramsgate in Kent. Kent Ramblers, through its coastal access officer Ian Wild and with support from the OSS, has worked closely with Natural England and we are all pleased with the route which Natural England proposed to the Secretary of State in June.
A particularly welcome aspect of Natural England’s route was just north of Sandwich where the proposed route follows the edge of the quay at Richborough Port. This avoids a very unpleasant stretch of the busy A256 and also allows walkers to see the quay itself which is of great historical interest for its role in the First and Second World Wars.
Unfortunately the owner of the quay has objected to the proposal. Although the land was derelict when Natural England proposed their route, he was using it for storing cars at the time of the inspector’s visit and asserted that public access would be damaging to his business. The inspector has issued a notice saying he is minded to accept that the landowner’s interest outweighs the public benefits of the proposed route and a consultation is in progress. Natural England still think that the balance of interests favours the route along the quay and so do the Ramblers and OSS.
The consultation closes on 11 September. We should like to encourage anyone interested in England’s coastal access to make representations before then. Further details and links to relevant documents are on the Kent Ramblers web site: