Coastal and Open Access
Kent's coast is an important part of our identity - valued for
its scenery, rich wildlife and heritage, for its sense of freedom
and as a place for relaxation and enjoyment. It is one of the
longest and most varied in England.
There are good opportunities for walking,
cycling and horse riding at various locations around the coast.
There are also places where access may not be so good, or could be
improved. In Kent, around 30% of the coast does not have good
legally secure public access.
The Government's vision for coastal access is to provide:
"...a coastal environment where rights to walk along the length
of the English coast lie within a wildlife and landscape corridor
that offers enjoyment, understanding of the natural environment and
a high quality experience; and is managed sustainably in the
context of a changing coastline..."
Marine and Coastal Access Act (PDF, 1MB) received Royal Assent
on 12 November 2009. Now an Act of Parliament, it aims to improve
access around Kent's coast (and all of England) by creating a long
distance walking route and creating a margin of accessible land.
This is where people will be able to spread out and explore,
rest or picnic should they wish to.
On 12 November 2009, it was announced that Kent had been
selected as a ‘lead area’ for implementing the act. Work on
identifying options for improving public access to Kent’s coast is
expected to begin in 2011.
For further information, please contact
Open Access land
and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced a new right of access on
foot to designated areas of land, mapped as Open Country and
Registered Common Land.
This new right of access is often referred to as 'right to
roam', which is misleading as the new right only applies to areas
of mapped Access Land. On Access Land, you don't have to stay on
public rights of way, although dogs do have to be kept on a short
lead between March and July - the main breeding season for ground
nesting birds, and at all other times near livestock.
In Kent, the new right of access to these areas of access land
commenced in October 2005. There are 2,075 hectares of designated
land and 111 registered commons. In addition, the Forestry
Commission has dedicated all of its freehold estate woodlands as
open country and the new right of access applies to these areas
Ordnance Survey has now revised their series of Explorer maps to
show all these areas of Open Access land.
There may be occasions when land managers need to restrict
access. In these instances, restriction notices will be placed at
key access points. Information about restrictions or exclusions is
shown on the Natural England website or by phoning their National
Access helpline 0845 100 3298. Calls are charged at a local
Maps and further information for landowners can be found on