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England Coast Path: improving public access to the coast

Find out how coastal access is being improved, where work is in progress and where new rights of access are now available.

Overview of progress

You can comment on the proposals for:

Send your representations or objections to Natural England by the date in brackets.

Work is well underway on the England Coast Path - a new National Trail around all of England’s coast.

Natural England expects to complete work on the England Coast Path in 2020.

The overview of progress map below shows all the proposed stretches. Use this to identify the stretches that:

  • are open
  • are approved but not yet open
  • have proposals published but not yet approved
  • are in development

Use the maps on the National Trails website to help plan a walk on the England Coast Path.

Coastal margin

As part of this work a ‘coastal margin’ is being identified. The margin includes all land between the trail and the sea. It may also extend inland from the trail if:

  • it’s a type of coastal land identified in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act), such as beach, dune or cliff
  • there are existing access rights under section 15 of the CROW Act
  • Natural England and the landowner agree to follow a clear physical feature landward of the trail

In the coastal margin, you’ll usually have new rights to enjoy areas like beaches. Some areas will not have such rights because they’re:

  • excepted land, such as cropped land or buildings and their courtyards or gardens
  • not suitable for public access, such as a saltmarsh or mudflat

Other parts of the coastal margin may be steep, unstable and not safe to access. You must take care of your own safety and look out for local notices.

Progress on the England Coast Path near you

The new right of access will be brought into effect at different times around the coast.

Use the maps below to find out which stretches of coast Natural England is working on and where the new right of access is available.

Process to open a new stretch of the England Coast Path

Natural England follows the coastal access scheme when working to open a new stretch of the England Coast Path.

A summary of this process is available:

Guidance for landowners and the public

Grant for landowners and land managers

The Rural Development Programme for England funds grants to help with establishment works on approved stretches.

Published 8 October 2014
Last updated 27 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Shoreham-by-Sea to Eastbourne stretch.
  2. Opportunity to comment on the variation report proposals now open for Drigg, part of the Whitehaven to Silecroft stretch.
  3. Opportunity to comment on the variation report proposals now open for Coulderton and Nethertown, part of the Whitehaven to Silecroft stretch.
  4. Added a section about the new ECPEF grant for landowners/managers of approved stretches.
  5. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Weybourne to Hunstanton stretch.
  6. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Highcliffe to Calshot stretch.
  7. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Easington to Filey Brigg stretch.
  8. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Sutton Bridge to Skegness stretch.
  9. Corrected consultation period closing date for East Head to Shoreham.
  10. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for East Head to Shoreham.
  11. Updated page to show consultation for Jaywick to Harwich proposals has opened and consultation for Minehead to Combe Martin proposals has closed.
  12. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Burnham-on-Crouch to Maldon and Portsmouth to South Hayling stretches.
  13. Mersea Island consultation is now open for comments.
  14. Opportunity to comment on report proposals now open for Kimmeridge Bay to Highcliffe and Whitstable to Iwade stretches.
  15. Minehead to Combe Martin consultation now open
  16. Opportunity to comment has opened for 2 more stretches
  17. Opportunity to comment has opened for 2 stretches.
  18. Walney Island consultation is now open for comments.
  19. Added link to Newport Bridge to North Gare proposals.
  20. SoS announcement approves the route for 3 stretches of the England Coast Path.
  21. Consultation opens on proposed changes to approved route at Dunball Wharf and St Audries Bay in Somerset.
  22. Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge consultation opens
  23. Ramsgate to Whitstable consultation opens
  24. Folkestone to Ramsgate consultation outcome published
  25. Outline of government's plan to complete the England Coast Path by 2020.
  26. First published.