England Coast Path, Coastal Access, Coastal Margin...

...what do they mean and where can I go?


Welcome to the England Coast Path!

The ‘ECP’ is a new National Trail set to be the world’s longest coastal footpath when complete.

It’s opening in stages around the country. You can find out what’s open near you and download GPX files of the routes on this website.

What is ‘Coastal Access’?

It’s a brand new legal access right, much like Open Access. It includes the trail itself, and parts of the ‘Coastal Margin’ – the strip of land between the path and mean low water.

You can now use your ‘Coastal Access’ rights to explore the Coastal Margin, but there are places which are excepted or excluded from those rights – for example where we need to keep you, your dog and our wildlife safe.

Where can’t I go in the Coastal Margin?

Some land types are automatically excepted from Coastal Access rights – such as houses and gardens, golf courses, railways, arable land – if you’re unsure, go to www.gov.uk/englandcoastpath

You’ll usually find signs on the ground if a restriction or exclusion is in place. You can also check http://www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk.

These restrictions only prevent new coastal access rights applying; they do not remove existing access rights or traditions.

Can I take my dog?

Yes! The England Coast Path is designed to help more people get out and enjoy the coast, and that includes walking our dogs. There are some measures to ensure that dogs, people, wildlife and farm animals can all exist together happily; with your help we can ensure things stay that way. Please:

  • Keep dogs on leads when signage asks you to
  • Respect any requirements to avoid certain parts of the coastal margin
  • Remember dogs must be on a short (2m) fixed lead around livestock on ECP/coastal access land
  • Remember a dog doesn’t need to attack to cause stress to other animals and birds
  • Always bag, take and bin their poo – it can spread diseases and affect the plants that grow

Can I ride a bike or horse?

Coastal Access only grants a right of access on foot, or on an all-terrain wheelchair/mobility scooter where terrain and infrastructure allows (we’re working on this), but you

can still ride a bike or horse on existing bridleways which overlap the ECP or Coastal Margin.

Happy exploring!

Plan your trip using this website (www.nationaltrail.co.uk), and share your adventures with us using #EnglandCoastPath!