England Coast Path: Aust to Brean Down

Find out the progress of improving coastal access – including maps, process and timing – in the Severn Estuary.

Map of the stretch

Natural England has begun to investigate how to improve coastal access along a 80 km stretch of the Severn Estuary between Aust and Brean Down.

Officers from South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset and Somerset are providing Natural England with expert local advice and helping to make sure there is full consultation with local interests during the development of the route.

Beach Road car park (Sand Bay) to Brean Down Fort

Stage 5: Open

This 21.52km (13.4 miles) stretch of the England Coast Path (ECP) is now open to the public. Coastal access rights came into force along this section of the Aust to Brean Down stretch on Thursday 16 June 2022, by order of the Secretary of State.

The route is available to view on the National Trails website.

If you are planning a walk on the ECP, check our interactive access maps for details of local access restrictions and coast path diversions which may apply at certain times.

Coastal access rights normally apply to all land that is coastal margin - including any land seaward of the route - unless it falls into a category of excepted land.

Use the links below to see details of the Secretary of State’s decision to approve Natural England’s proposals and for guidance on your rights and responsibilities if the ECP passes through your land.

Aust to Beach Road car park (Sand Bay)

Stage 4: Determine

On 25 July 2019, Natural England submitted a collection of reports to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out the proposals for improved access to the coast between Aust and Brean Down.

The period for making representations and objections about the reports closed at midnight, Thursday 19 September 2019. The reports are still available to view.

The reports in the collection may get approval at the same time. Some of them may need further consideration.

You can see the current status of the collection in the table.

Report number and title Stage 4 Stage 5 (approved)
ABD 1: Severn Bridge to New Passage   23 June 2022
ABD 2: New Passage to New Pill Gout   9 July 2020
ABD 3: New Pill Gout to Avonmouth Bridge   9 July 2020
ABD 4: Avonmouth Bridge to Portishead Marina   9 July 2020
ABD 5: Portishead Marina to Wain’s Hill, Clevedon   9 July 2020
ABD 6: Wain’s Hill, Clevedon to Huckers Bow Not yet determined  
ABD 7: Huckers Bow to Birnbeck Pier   9 July 2020
ABD 8: Birnbeck Pier to Uphill Beach   9 July 2020
ABD 9: Uphill Beach to Brean Cross Sluice   9 July 2020
ABD 10: Brean Cross Sluice to Brean Down Fort   9 July 2020

Variation reports on approved sections

Sometimes it’s necessary to change sections of an approved route. The proposed changes are published as variation reports. Anyone can comment (make a representation) on these proposals. Landowners and occupiers can make an objection.

Proposals to change the approved route between Sheepway Lane and Portbury Wharf (VR8)

On 31 August 2021, the Secretary of State announced their decision to approve a variation report (VR8) which modifies the original proposals for length ABD 4: Avonmouth Bridge to Portishead Marina. Work on a new high-voltage electricity connection will affect this section until 2025. The report contains the proposals for diverting the route away from this work.

The period for making representations and objections about the report closed at midnight on 12 May 2021. The report is still available to view.

Objections are forwarded for consideration by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. The inspector will make recommendations to the Secretary of State in respect of each one.

Natural England may not make any further changes to reports as a result of representations and objections, but will make comments about them for consideration by the Secretary of State and, in the case of objections, the appointed person (an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate).

The Secretary of State will consider all the representations and objections before making a decision about Natural England’s reports.

Next steps

Stage 5: Open

Once the Secretary of State has approved 1 or more of the reports, Natural England will start work with South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council on preparing the route for public use.

The first step will be to contact owners and occupiers of the affected land to discuss the design and location of any new infrastructure which is required such as signs and gates.

When preparations are complete, new access rights will be brought into force along the route and adjoining spreading room.

Find out more about the England Coast Path

See information about all stretches in preparation around England’s coast.

The coastal access scheme gives details of the process being followed to improve access to the coast.

Contact the coastal access team

Contact Natural England for any comments, suggestions or queries you have about improving coastal access.

Coastal access delivery team (Somerset, Avon and Dorset)

Natural England
Horizon House
Deanery Road


Telephone: Natural England enquiry team - 0300 060 3900

See the map below for more information about progress on improving coastal access in other parts of the west of England.

Published 22 July 2014
Last updated 23 June 2022 + show all updates
  1. Page update to show that length 1 (ABD1) has been approved.

  2. Page updated to show the Beach Road carpark (Sand Bay) to Brean Down Fort section of this stretch is now open to the public.

  3. Page updated to show the variation report VR8 has been approved.

  4. Updated the page with information about the variation report between Sheepway Lane and Portbury Wharf (VR8).

  5. Added table showing the reports which make up the collection. Page updated to show that 8 of the 10 reports have received Secretary of State approval.

  6. Page updated to show this stretch is now at stage 4.

  7. Removed the sentence giving a date for when access is expected to be ready. Publication of the report is expected in summer 2019.

  8. Dates amended: publication of report now expected in 2019. Access expected to be ready in 2020.

  9. Work on this stretch of coast has reached 'stage 2: develop'.

  10. First published.