The flood defence banks between Blakeney and Cley, and between Brancaster village and Brancaster beach suffered multiple breaches during the tidal surge in December. The damage was so significant that the footpaths on top of the defences had been closed since the surge.
The Environment Agency is working with the National Trail, National Trust and Norfolk Trails to carry out the interim repairs which will allow the footpaths to be re-opened in time for the main tourism season.
Mark Johnson, Coastal Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
We’ve been talking to people and understand how important these footpaths are both to local people and the local economy.
Although a decision about the longer term future of the defences in both locations is still subject to further discussion, we are keen to open the footpaths to allow safe pedestrian access whilst these discussions continue.
The work in Blakeney has already started and is expected to be finished in time for the Easter bank holiday weekend. In Brancaster work started (7 April) and will take about six weeks.
Patrick Saunders from the National Trail and Norfolk Trails said:
We are fully aware of the Norfolk Coast Path popularity and of the local economic benefit provided by the National Trail as a whole. For this reason we are proud to be working together with the Environment Agency and other organisations to establish intermediate access in time for the Easter and summer seasons.
Iain Wolfe, Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust North Norfolk Coast said:
We are pleased that work to repair the paths is underway, whilst longer term plans for this part of the coastline continue to be developed.
We are especially pleased that the paths will be completed in time for the busy Easter weekend. Easter traditionally marks the start of the tourist season and it is important to know that visitors will be able to experience this beautiful part of Norfolk.
In Brancaster the repairs will allow safe pedestrian access between the village and the beach during high tides, and in Blakeney the work will mean that people have safe access around the Blakeney Freshes nature reserve.