Isle of Wight could join English Coastal Path
The entire coastline of the Isle of Wight could be opened up to walkers after lobbying from Ramblers to include it in plans for a long-distance coastal path around England. The Isle is currently excluded from the Government’s plans for an English Coastal Path, however efforts by local Ramblers volunteers could mean that a special case is made for England’s largest island.
Thanks to the campaign for a ‘Wight Coast Trail’ led by the Isle of Wight Ramblers, DEFRA has launched a consultation inviting the public to have their say about whether the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 should be extended to the Isle of Wight.
Despite being home to the UK’s largest walking festival each autumn, the Isle of Wight suffers from a lack of consistent coastal access with paths running inland, along busy highways or subject to frustrating interruptions. There is also no public access for 10 miles along the island’s northern coastline, which is easily accessible from the mainland via ferry and hovercraft links from Portsmouth, Southsea, Southampton and Lymington. Making provision for the Isle of Wight under the legislation would not only improve the existing footpath infrastructure but also bring a boost to the local economy, benefitting both islanders and the 2.6 million visitors.
“Ramblers volunteers have been working hard to convince the government that the Isle of Wight shouldn’t miss out on all the benefits of the English Coastal Path” said Ramblers Senior Policy Officer Justin Cooke. “We hope that the consultation will show how popular this path would be.”
Details of how to respond to the consultation, which runs until 16 November, can be found on the DEFRA website and you can also read more about the Isle of Wight Ramblers’ campaign ‘Wight Coast Excluded’ by visiting www.iowramblers.com.
Image by Ronald Saunders.