Essex Area Ramblers

At the heart of walking in Essex

Essex Coastal Path - 5.4.2017 Liaison meeting agreed notes

Notes from meeting Natural England and Essex Area of Ramblers at 20 Runsell View, Danbury on 5th April 2017

Essex Area Ramblers (EAR): Ann McLaren, President and Alan Goffee, Chairman

Natural England (NE): Claire Cadman, Lead Adviser (Burnham to Maldon stretch)

  1. Update on Essex Stretches – publication dates:

* Maldon to Salcott MSC published 30th March – now in 8 week consultation period which well promoted in local media. Essex Area had received their copies.

Action: Claire to send copy press release and link to ITV television

* Mersea Island MSI publication delayed due to ‘purdah’ restrictions re: announcements linked with local elections which extend March – May 4th. MSI will then be slotted in to fit with larger national timetable –aiming before end of May.

* Jaywick to Harwich JWH and Burnham to Maldon BCM – both due to publish proposals Summer 2017

* Harwich to Shotley Gate HSG and Salcott to Jaywick SCJ – due to publish proposals late summer 2017. Both are long and complex stretches.

* Wallasea Island to Burnham WIB – Diana Curtis is Lead Adviser with Darren Braine as Senior Adviser.

Action: Claire to send Dianne’s details to Ann & Alan

Land Registry information purchased and Darren has begun to collect evidence re: role of ferry crossing (if any). Claire explained different options ferry could play.

Ramblers’ preference would be Trail up & down the Crouch as the main route, available all year and at all times of every day - with the ferry as a secondary alternative if people did not want the walk up the estuary. Ramblers’ volunteers have prepared report with their views on the route along river – 2 Teams completed with Battlesbridge as split point. Ann to send on to Diana for consideration.

* Southend to Wallasea Island SWI – this now incorporates the islands of Wallasea, Foulness and Potton which previously separate. Phil Sturges is Lead Adviser with James Lamb as Senior Adviser. Phil just published MSC so will commence work on this stretch shortly. Coastal Access Scheme is clear re: land covered by military byelaws though James talks with MOD continue and no conclusion yet.

Ann/Alan raised question of whether Rushley Island would be included or not – Ramblers member Dave Hitchman has highlighted a track which gives access at low water. Claire explained position re: accessible islands within coastal margin, though military byelaws could make area excepted land.

Ramblers volunteer Steven Neale covering Pigs Bay to Benfleet Station.

* Tilbury to Southend TSE – Giles Merritt and Roy Read will be Lead Advisers with James Lamb as Senior Adviser (though subject to change as will be final Essex stretch to commence).

Rambler volunteers Diane Ingram & Gordon Bird covering Benfleet Station to Tilbury Ferry.

Ann/Alan questioned the route at Southend Pier. They flagged previous court case Ramblers fought to keep open the footpath that goes seaward of RNLI station and are very keen this is used.

Ann/Alan questioned the route at Canvey Island – would want the Trail to include as there are road crossings. Ramblers have started to look at potential to cross from Canvey to Fobbing using flood barriers (currently gated) – so to keep Trail ‘coastal’ rather than a long detour inland.

* Kent: the Trail is looking to extend past Gravesend and into Woolwich – NE & Essex Area Ramblers have looked at complexities of the land on the Essex side and how any potential route would fit the criteria of the ECP (as set out in the Coastal Access Scheme). Ramblers will not object to NE not extending the route past Tilbury.

  1. Future promotion, booklets etc.

Ann explained there were a number of members of Essex Area Ramblers who had produced walking guides in past. Claire explained the role of Walk Unlimited & the National Trails. Claire was aware of work Kent Ramblers had done re: guides but unsure the history of how this evolved and will forward link.

Action: Claire to send Kent info to Ann/Alan.

  1. Other/ Opportunities for joint working

* Claire told of her visit to Norfolk National Trails Partnership meeting in February. Good insight into possible future, though each National Trails Partnership is different. Kings Lynn Ramblers had representative there & may be good to speak with. Key to Essex version of partnership in future is Shirley Anglin as delivery partner / Access Authority.

Claire to send Ann links to ‘No Boat Required – Walking Tidal islands’ publication – and a link to the Kent Ramblers publication.

* Launches of stretches – Essex Area Ramblers have begun to plan for 2018 & opening of new stretches – asking their walkers what they’d like to see in terms of a celebration. Small budget put aside for some food and coaches

  1. Date of next meeting

Set as 10am on 11th July 2017 at Ann’s house again.

Ann was thanked for her hospitality.