A public consultation has begun on 60km of new and improved coastal access from Ramsgate to Folkestone - the first South East stretch of the long-dreamed-of English Coastal Path. Soon people will be able to walk uninterrupted along this entire stretch of Kent's characteristic clifftops and beaches.
'There'll be red socks over the white cliffs of Dover tomorrow, just you wait and see'
The Ramblers, among others, have urged the Government to keep its promise of creating an English coastal path - a right won by the public as part of the previous Government's Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Their One Coast for All campaign calls for public access to the coastline to be secured with an official round-England trail (there's a petition to sign if you're so inclined).
Ramblers volunteers have also been closely involved in securing the best outcome for walkers, says the charity.
Ian Wild, a Ramblers volunteer who has been working with Natural England to help find the best route forward said;
'We are very pleased that Natural England have taken account of our suggestions to help secure the best access to the coast for walkers, in particular the opening up of the old Richborough port quay and improved access to the banks of the Stour - which will make a massive difference to coastal walking in Kent. We have an incredibly varied coastline in Kent and this is a significant step to improving access for walkers.'
Anastasia French, Campaigns Officer for the Ramblers added;
'It is wonderful to see the progress being made to guarantee a path Kent can be proud of. The improved access to Kent's coast will bring so many benefits to the area – improving public health and wellbeing by increasing opportunities for walking and also bringing significant economic benefits. We encourage people to engage with this public consultation to ensure the best route forward for all.'
'The Ramblers look forward to continued work with Natural England, landowners, local authorities and others as, step by step, the dream of a complete English Coastal Path draws closer.'
Earlier this year Natural England announced that a further 22 miles from Folkestone to Camber is to be included as part of the English Coastal Path, with preparations set to begin this year. In addition to this, the government has outlined a long term plan for coastal access which estimates that by 2017 people will be able to walk all the way from Dorset to Hull (should they so desire) via Hadrian's wall and the Wales Coast Path.
For more information on Natural England's public consultations see here. The closing date for comments is 5pm Friday 9 November 2012.