The New Coastal Access Rights
The Marine & Coastal Act 2009 placed a duty on Natural England to improve access to the English coast. The duty is in two parts: one relating to securing a long-distance walking route around the coast; the other to a margin of coastal land associated with the route where people will be able to spread out and explore, rest or picnic as well as walking along the coast.
Natural England is working with Dorset County Council to make the Weymouth Bay stretch, from Rufus Castle on Portland to Lulworth Cove, the first to gain the new coastal access rights in time for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Natural England are following the approach set out in their Coastal Access Scheme to put the rights in place. The Scheme is available at http://naturalengland.etraderstores.com/NaturalEnglandShop/NE269.
Your Dog and the Future Rights
Dogs will be able to enjoy the new rights with you too, provided they are kept under effective control. ‘Effective control’ is defined in the legislation; you must:
- keep your dog on a lead; or
- keep your dog within sight, remain aware of its actions and have reason to be confident that they will return reliably and promptly on command.
- always keep your dog on a lead in areas where there are livestock (although you should unleash them if you are being chased, to allow both your dog and yourself to get away effectively).
There is more information about this in the Scheme (see online address ending in NE269 above), especially in chapter 2 pages 9 & 10.
Dogs and Cliffs
Whilst working on our local coast we have heard sad tales of dogs being lost over cliffs, chasing a rabbit or just at an unexpected drop, so please be aware that even very well-behaved or sedate dogs can make one mistake and be lost forever. We were shocked by the number of dogs that have been lost this way on the local coast, as only a few of these tragedies reach the media. So take special care on cliff-tops, you may want to put your dog on a lead to be sure of their safety until you reach a lower part of the coast.
Dogs on the Coast
Dogs can have a fantastic time on the coast and from your photos we know that many dogs love the sea! We can look forward to an even greater choice of wonderful walks on the Dorset coast with our dogs. Please take a look at the proposals in the report at the address above and look out here for news of the rights coming into force on the Portland to Lulworth Cove stretch in time for the Olympic sailing events at Weymouth in 2012!
The Proposed New Rights - Available online!
The proposals for the alignment of the trail and associated spreading room on the Weymouth Bay stretch between Portland and Lulworth are available online under the heading ‘Weymouth Bay’ at: www.naturalengland.org.uk/coastalaccess