Norfolk Coast path risks being a subdued trail

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The Norfolk coast path is at risk of being ‘a subdued trail that would miss out some of the most majestic stretches of our coastline’. So declares our Norfolk local correspondent, Ian Witham. Ian has commented on Natural England’s consultation for the stretch of coastal access, to be introduced under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, between Sea Palling and Weybourne in Norfolk.

Photo: Ian Witham

Ian was responding to the public consultation on Natural England’s final report for the 41-km stretch; the consultation closed on Monday 16 September. Ian has called the route ‘disappointing, frustrating and a wasted opportunity’.

Says Ian: ‘Unfortunately the route of the trail Natural England proposes falls well short of what was expected and hoped for, with so many highlights being totally missed out. Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation for the North Norfolk coast might as well not even exist. Instead of following the iconic clifftops between Cromer and Overstrand and between Mundesley and Bacton, the proposed trail would take a nose-dive to run along the beach far below.’

He did however praise the suggested path between Trimingham and Sidestrand.

Photo: Ian Witham

Ian is sad that his submission to Natural England during an earlier consultation has failed to secure a better deal for the public. He had sent detailed information setting out the high amenity value of the clifftops between Mundesley, Paston and Bacton but it had failed even to attract a mention in the report’s summary for public consultation.

While Natural England cited the softness of the cliffs as a reason for putting the route inland, Ian points out that the new legislation allows the route to be ‘rolled back’ if it is at risk of erosion.

‘This subdued trail is bad news for locals, visitors and Norfolk’s economy,’ says Ian. ‘We hope that Natural England will decide to amend the route and its adjoining access land.’

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