Rich landowners block bid to build 'world's longest coastal footpath'

Take a HIKE! Rich landowners block Natural England’s bid to build ‘world’s longest coastal footpath’ by refusing to let ramblers roam their estates… forcing them to detour onto roads

  • The 2,700-mile coastal path would allow public to enjoy the country’s beaches
  • Walkers will be forced along roads without pavements as they are rerouted
  • Natural England is accused of giving into landowners as they divert walkers 

Natural England’s bid to build ‘the world’s largest coastal footpath’ has been blocked by rich landowners who reportedly don’t want ramblers roaming their estates.

They said the 2,700-mile coastal path would allow the public to ‘properly enjoy’ the country’s beaches.  

But wealthy landowners occupying some of the most scenic routes are apparently blocking the move, causing diversions around their land.

The 2,700-mile coastal path would allow the public to ‘properly enjoy’ the country’s beaches but wealthy landowners are apparently blocking the move, causing diversions around their land

Walkers will now be forced to trudge along roads, some without pavements, as they are rerouted inland in Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and Suffolk. 

The agency have now been accused of giving into the landowners, as they have redirected ramblers along a road half a mile from the coast in Hampshire.

The diversion, which is one of the longest proposed, is around the 2,500-acre Cadland Estate, and goes for almost two miles. 

Owner of the estate, Aldred Drummond, said that the coast he owned was in ‘pristine environmental condition’ due to the absence of the public.   

An almost two mile diversion is proposed to go around the 2,500-acre Cadland Estate in Hampshire, pictured, and owner Aldred Drummond said the coast he owned is in ‘pristine environmental condition’ due to the absence of the public 

Natural England said protecting wildlife was the reason for the route around the estate, but also that it avoided ‘disturbing the estate’s pheasant shoots’.  

The Hampshire Ramblers’ group have said the route proposed around the Rothschild family’s Exbury Estate fulfils ‘none of a walker’s expectations for a coastal path’. 

They have said walkers, who have been redirected on to a road with no pavement, would constantly need to be ‘aware of traffic’ which would be heading to Exbury Gardens, a visitor attraction on the estate.  

A new owner, believed to be German fashion designer Thomas Bentz, at Glenthorne House, near Lynton, Devon, has allegedly decided not to allow a path through the gardens and another long diversion is proposed.

He declined to comment when approached by The Times.  

The house was recently bought from philanthropist Sir Christopher Ondaatje, who had originally committed part of his land to the project. 

Natural England is proposing a two-mile diversion around Crowe Hall in Stutton, Suffolk after rejecting a proposed clifftop path.

They have said it would ‘interfere’ with the owner’s growing ‘recreational use’ of the area and keeping walkers dogs out of grazing areas may make them ‘more difficult to manage by grazing’.        

Owner of Ilchester Estates, Charlotte Townshend has proposed an alternative route with less views of the sea near Abbotsbury village, Devon. 

The route proposed around the Rothschild family’s Exbury Estate in Hampshire, pictured, will have walkers redirected on to a road with no pavement

This was due to the ‘impact that the coastal path would have on agriculture management, nature conservation and Abbotsbury Swannery’. 

Better access to the coast has been delivered or is proposed in some places, including near Watchet in west Somerset and the Hoo peninsula in Kent.

Guy Shrubsole of the Right to Roam campaign said: ‘England’s coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world but some of the country’s largest landowners are determined the public doesn’t get to see it. 

‘We need more access to nature and a greater right to roam, not less.’  

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 parkland and gardens are ‘excepted land’ and exempt from the duty to create a coast path.

There is no size limit on what is deemed to be a garden. 

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