Natural England‘s Coastal Access report published at the end of last month did not get much press coverage soÂ I have only just been catching up with it.
The document is an audit of coastal paths and to me it’s rather too gloomy.
First it suggests that the path along Poole Bay, better known as Bournemouth cliffs, has “no satisfactory legally secure path”. It may not be a public footpath on the OS map but the route is mainly on pavements and in council owned parks.
Chewton Bunny to Milford-on-Sea has the same designation which is not quite so surprising as this includes Naish Farm caravan park, Barton and Hordle which have crumbling cliffs. The ‘farm’ does not have a public footpath.
Although the report recognises that in places there can be “de facto or permissive access” it does not deal with any stretches in detail.
Indeed it does not say how the provisions of the Marine & Coastal Access Bill will be delivered over the coming decade -a timescale mentioned by Natural England chief executive Helen Phillips.
The 65 page large print publication is not a lot of help.