Ramblers celebrate the Isle of Wight
Coast being opened up for walkers
The Ramblers are celebrating today's news that the government has committed to creating a path around the entire Isle of Wight coastline, following more than five years of campaigning calling for the island to be included in the England Coast Path.
The Isle of Wight was originally left out of the plans for a complete England Coast Path when the Marine and Coastal Access Act was passed in 2009. At this time, the dream of walking around the entire English coast was enshrined in law, but the Isle of Wight was not going to be a part of it.
Thanks to lobbying by Ramblers volunteers and overwhelming public support*, the government has now decided to add the 70-mile footpath around the island to the scheme.
David Howarth, Isle of Wight Ramblers Area Chairman, said:
"We're thrilled by the government's decision to include the Isle of Wight in the plan to open up the whole of the English coast and extremely grateful to the thousands of people on and off the island who have supported our campaign.
"Creating a path around the entire Isle of Wight coast will allow residents and visitors to enjoy all the recreational activities the coast has to offer, including rock pooling, bird watching and shore fishing. Most importantly, people will be able to walk by the seaside without having to walk away from the coast on busy and dangerous roads. It also means that for the first time around 10-miles of the islands northern coast will be opened up for people to enjoy.
"The coast path is not just good news for walkers, but will help to breathe new life into our coastal towns and villages, boosting tourism and the local economy and reconnecting people with their stretch of coast, helping to promote health and wellbeing.
"It is now critical that the Isle of Wight Council works with Natural England to take this exciting opportunity forward. Our volunteers will be working closely with them to help achieve this."
Notes to editors:
· *A total of 2,958 people responded to the consultation, 98% of respondents said they supported the government making an order. The IOW Ramblers thanks all the people who have supported the campaign for a complete Island coastal path over the last four years.
The Isle of Wight Area of the Ramblers has over 550 members in 2 groups - The Isle of Wight Group and Wight Sole Group (mainly for the 20 to 40 age group). Information about Wight Sole can be found at their own website www.wightsole.org.uk Each week the groups lead a variety of walks on the Island and occasionally on the mainland. They will be delighted to welcome you.
The Isle of Wight has over 500 miles of public rights of way.
hts of way. We help maintain them by walking them, reporting faults and carrying out practical work. This is one of the best networks of paths in the country with spectacular views of the coast, estuaries, downs and woodland. There are also 26 areas of access land on the Island.
The Ramblers is for the benefit of everyone, the enjoyment and discovery that walking outdoors can bring. As a charity, we campaign to increase and improve access to the countryside.
The Ramblers' Association is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company registration number 4458492. Registered Charity in England and Wales number 1093577, registered charity in Scotland, number: SC039799. Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW