Plans to extend the England Coast Path between Hunstanton and Sutton Bridge
Natural England has revealed plans to improve public access to a 33mile stretch of the England Coast Path which stretches between Hunstanton and Sutton Bridge.
The proposals, which were published on Wednesday, are open to objections and representations for the next eight weeks.
If approved, the route will become part of the England Coast Path which is a 2,700-mile-long walking route and England’s newest National Trail, currently being developed by Natural England.
Cllr Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council’s member champion for cycling and walking, said:“When this final section of the coast path is in place, we’ll have a superb 113-mile trail right around Norfolk’s beautiful coast. We want this new section to be a route that people will love to use and will return to again and again, so I shall be making my views known about the route and I’d urge people to take this opportunity to look at the plans and feed back their views.
“It’s not just about opening-up new access to our coastal areas, it’s also likely to bring a much-needed financial boost as we know popular long-distance paths bring a significant benefit to local economies. In 2018 to 19 we saw 750,000 visits to Norfolk’s coast path, so I hope completing the trail will help encourage even more people to experience our wonderful coastline in the future.”
The proposed trail is located in areas of international wildlife value and bird watchers will particularly enjoy The Wash National Nature Reserve and the RSPB reserve at Snettisham.
Natural England’s proposals will also create seven miles of new access between the RSPB reserve at Snettisham and Lynn.
This is an area largely remote from local facilities such as toilets and cafes, where the trail passes between The Wash and fields. Walkers will be inspired by the scale of the flat open landscape and huge skies there, which evoke a strong sense of place and tranquillity.
Hannah Thacker, Natural England’s area manager for Norfolk, said: “Our proposals will increase access via a trail that can be used in conjunction with the existing ferry service across the Great Ouse between King’s Lynn and West Lynn. There are also good train and bus links at King’s Lynn helping to enable greater car-free leisure.
"We have gone to considerable trouble to make proposals that achieve this while avoiding damage to the considerable wildlife value of The Wash estuary.”
From Lynn, the trail uses the existing Peter Scott Way, a local trail which extends into Lincolnshire and was named in honour of Sir Peter Scott, the famous naturalist. The trail also goes past the lighthouse near Sutton Bridge, where he lived.
From King’s Lynn visitors can travel round the Norfolk coast via the Coastliner bus route, which extends to Wells, and then the Coasthopper bus, which goes on to Cromer
This is the fourth and final stretch of the England Coast Path to be developed in Norfolk and the third in Lincolnshire.
Councillor Davies, Lincolnshire County Council’s member for highways, transport and IT, said: “Whilst this is only a short stretch of the Lincolnshire coastline, we are pleased that Natural England have been able to publish the proposals for the route of the England Coast Path linking Hunstanton with Sutton Bridge.
"Lincolnshire is proud to support this project and we hope that more people than ever will be able to enjoy some of the nation's most precious coastal habitats and striking scenery and that coastal communities such as Sutton Bridge will benefit from the opportunities that the path will bring.”
The next eight weeks provide time for owners and occupiers of affected land to make reports and for any objections or representations to be submitted.
All representations and objections must be received by Natural England no later than midnight on January 20. The full reports, and all the forms and guidance on how to make a representation or objection within the next eight weeks, are available on the GOV.UK website.