Criticisms over proposed North Norfolk Coastal Path

PUBLISHED: 07:30 09 September 2013

Bacton gas terminal from the air. Picture; MIKE PAGE

Bacton gas terminal from the air. Picture; MIKE PAGE


A Norfolk environment enthusiast has criticised Natural England’s proposal for a new coast path, claiming the route would not make the most of the county’s cliff top views.

Ian Witham, from Church Lane, Edingthorpe, a local correspondent for the Open Spaces Society, said the final proposal for the 41km route from Weybourne to Sea Palling was “disappointing, frustrating and a wasted opportunity”.

The final report from Natural England for the path is currently out for public consultation until midnight on September 16 and, if approved by the government, will be part of the England Coast Path.

Mr Witham, who represents the society in north Norfolk, Breckland, Broadland, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, said: “Unfortunately, the route of the trail that they are proposing falls well short of what was expected and hoped for, with so many highlights being totally missed out - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation might as well not even exist.

“Instead of following the iconic cliff tops between Cromer and Overstrand and between Mundesley and Bacton, the proposed trail would take a nose-dive to run along the beach far below.”

He added the proposed route inland across Mundesley’s Gold Park has been nicknamed the Mundesley meander.

He added the beach routes could become a problem in high tide and many people walk past the Bacton gas terminal along the cliffs.

Mr Witham did however praise the suggested path between Trimingham and Sidestrand.

A report by Natural England said security officials at the Bacton gas site were “obliged” to monitor each person who walks on the cliffs past the terminal.

Natural England were advised by Norfolk Police’s counter terrorism security advisor that a cliff top trail would make this system more “difficult”.

The report added private gardens between Mundesley and Trimingham did not allow the path to go along part of the cliffs.

Comments can be made at libraries in Cromer, Mundesley, Sheringham, Stalham or at Sheringham Tourist Information Centre.

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