Plan for New Coast Path Restricts Countryside Access
|Author: Anthony Annakin-Smith||Published: 11th January 2021 11:42|
AboutMyArea Neston reader Anthony Annakin-Smith writes to express his concern that residents may be surprised to learn that a scheme intended to open up the great outdoors includes plans to ban access to thousands of acres of countryside on our doorstep.
Detailed proposals for the stretch of the England Coast Path which passes through our area have recently been published and these include a proposal to prevent the public accessing the marsh adjacent to Parkgate and Neston.
The England Coast Path is a route which runs around the entire coast of the country. The local stretch will join the Wales Coast Path which is already complete.
While many locals may not have walked on the marsh it does attract, amongst others, responsible walkers, bird-watchers, photographers and groups studying the unique salt-marsh environment.
The marsh is a stunning and unique local resource and a joy to wander over. It has been used by locals for decades, and is crossed by the well-known Fisherman's Path. While I am in favour of the England Coast Path in principle, I do not believe Natural England using this project as a pretext to slip in a prohibition on using this wonderful asset on our doorstep. Why is the development of a simple linear path being used to justify a ban on access to a vast area?'
Natural England's report on the local stretch of path claims that the marsh ‘is unsuitable for public access' due to ‘frequent tidal inundation'. It claims that ‘people [have had to be] rescued from these areas' although no details of such rescues are given.
I'd be interested to see the records of such incidents but, if there have been any, they are few and far between. In any event, being ‘unsuitable' is a ridiculous justification for this proposal. Presumably, using the same logic, every high hill and mountain in the country should also be closed given that they are subject to frequent severe weather, sometimes leading to helicopter rescues. Will Natural England also be preventing people walking from West Kirby to Hilbre!
People can comment on the proposal by contacting Natural England at firstname.lastname@example.org before the 10th February. The full report can be found here.