Success! On Jan 13th 2021, the 43km section of the new national coastal path from Whitstable to Iwade was approved by the Secretary of State. This gives the people of Whitstable and visitors to the town some assurance of ongoing access to Whitstable beach.
Whitstable Beach Campaign supported Natural England who are mapping and planning the route to make sure that privately-owned Whitstable beach was part of this important new national trail.
Follow this link to learn more about the national coastal path, a new national trail https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/england-coast-path-route-description-landing-page/
Unlike much of the British coastline, Whitstable’s beach is privately owned without any formal right for public access.
In response to the threat that the beach could be closed off to the public at any time, in 2004 Whitstable Beach Campaign submitted an unsuccessful application to Kent County Council to establish a public footpath.
Since our 2004 application, The Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009 has come in to force nationwide. It goes some way toward addressing our concerns. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/23/contents
The national coastal path created under the MCAA will be a continuous route around the English coast. It establishes a legally enforceable pedestrian right to access to our coastline. Importantly, this includes the land (beach) between the new coastal path and the sea (mean low water mark). This area is known as the Coastal Margin. Here is a link to the specific clause within the MCAA for more information https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/23/section/303
Planning and mapping of the route has been carried out by Natural England and Whitstable Beach campaign have supported Natural England by providing information and advice on Whitstable’s beaches and access to the foreshore.
On Jan 13th 2021, the 43km section of route from Whitstable to Iwade was approved by the Secretary of State. Detail of the approved route is still to be published by Natural England. Access rights are formalised once any necessary signage or infrastructure is in place.