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Update on Access to the Marshes at Neston and Parkgate

Published: 19th January 2021 15:42

A petition launched only yesterday, 18 January, garnered 892 local signatures and created much conversation across media. Instigator Anthony Annakin-Smith has now closed the petition and provides an update as follows... 

Anthony says: "I can now update readers on the position regarding marsh access - and it is an interesting mix of good and bad news."

Little Neston'By The Harp, Little Neston' captured by local photographer Dave Mort.

Having spoken to Natural England, they admitted that the position is complex. However, although the relevant part of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which they are invoking allows for a ban on access to the saltmarsh, this will not be used to prevent use of the local marsh.

Signage will be erected asking people not to access the marsh, but it appears this will be carefully worded to avoid implying a mandatory ban. So, it appears that locals need have no material concerns regarding changes to access from a Natural England perspective.

The other key party to consider is the RSPB. Anthony has spoken with Burton Mere warden, Graham Jones, and he stated "that there are no public access rights to any part of the marsh, other than a relatively small area often used by dog walkers at the bottom of Marshlands Road."

This may come as a surprise to many readers, some of whom, as indicated in social media comments over the past day or so, will have walked on the marsh for decades.

Graham is highly concerned about disturbance of wildlife in the area and does not want visitors there at any time.

Anthony concludes: "I suspect there is more to be said on this issue and I have suggested to Graham that a programme of engagement with the local public (when circumstances allow) could be helpful to allow him to explain the RSPB's position.

"I think that closes this issue inasmuch as the England Coast Path is concerned. Many thanks to all those who've taken an interest. It is good to see just how many people care about such issues."

Anthony's original article relating specifically to the creation of the petition can be accessed here.

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At 17:05 on 20th January 2021, patandkeith commented:
There is a good new story to be told; Natural England are in the final stages of completing the North West section of the English Coastal Path. This will hopefully involve upgrades on some of the route in particular between the end of Manorial Road South and the Old Quay. All without bans or prohibitions. Incidentally some groups may have rights of usage on the marsh; wildfowlers possibly.

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