The Solent Forum

Working in parnership for the future

Coastal Access

The Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009 enables the creation of a continuous signed and managed route around the coast plus areas of spreading room, for example beaches, dunes and cliffs, where it is appropriate to do so.   The coastal access provisions in the Act place a duty on the Secretary of State and Natural England to secure a long distance route (“the English coastal route”) and land available for open-air recreation accessible to the public around the coast of England.  The way in which the all England coast path will be created was announced by Natural England as it published its Coastal Access Scheme. The Scheme has now been approved by government meaning that work to implement the coastal path can now begin in earnest.

The Solent Way is a 60-mile long-distance coastal walking route from the seaside town of Milford-on-Sea past the hustle and bustle of seafronts, quiet yachting harbours, deserted marshland and saltings to finish at Emsworth Harbour.  The route is well waymarked with a Tern on a green arrow and is shown on Ordnance Survey maps Explorer OL22, 119 and 120 at 1:25 000 scale and indicated on these maps with a green diamond and the name of the route (Solent Way).  The Hampshire Countryside Access Forum, is an advisory body working with local government to improve enjoyment of Hampshire’s countryside whilst safe-guarding its future.

The Isle of Wight has a wealth of footpaths and bridleways and is reputed to have more footpaths per square mile than any other English county including a 60 mile coastal path.  The Coastal Path can be walked in four days at a leisurely pace. The coastline is varied from white chalk cliffs to quiet estuaries. Almost half of the coastline is designated "Heritage Coast", a definition applied only to coastlines of the highest quality and unspoilt nature.  The Isle of Wight Local Access Forum is a statutory body set up to advise the local authority about access to the countryside and coast.