The Coastal Margin

The England Coast Path brings in a new right of access to the Coastal Margin. This exciting new right means that you don’t have to stick to the path. For the first time you have the legal freedom to walk on cliff tops and beaches.

The Coastal Margin is the land to the seaward side of the trail. It is shaded pink on the 1:25,000 scale Ordnance Survey Maps. Much of this land has public access.

However, within the Coastal Margin there is land where access rights don’t apply, for example:

  • cropped land, buildings and their curtilage (the land immediately surrounding them), and gardens. This land is called ‘excepted land’. You don’t have the right to walk on excepted land. You can see a full list of excepted land in this section of the website. 
  • land that is subject to local restrictions including many areas of saltmarsh and mud flats that are not suitable for public access.

Although you have the right to explore away from the path please use common sense – the England Coast Path includes land that is steep, unstable and not readily accessible. Just because the maps show that land has access rights it doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.