Does the England coast path actually work?

Recently 11 of us completed the Cleveland Way. It is a magnificent route with the inland section providing wonderful high-level moorland walking followed by the fine coastal section from Saltburn to Filey. The coastal section is mainly on completed sections of the England coast path, so it was interesting to see what difference that made where you already enjoy a good coastal path and national trail.

For most of the route, the England coast path makes no difference, though I suppose in the future the coastal margin will be useful as erosion takes place  and the coast path finds its natural route without the need to make constant diversions.

However at Sandsend, north of Whitby, there is an opportunity for the England coast path to come into its own. We reach Whitby golf club, right on the cliff top. The Cleveland Way here takes the main road for one mile but, as I hope you can see, the golf course is clearly within the coastal margin, denoted by pink semi-circles – so it ought to be accessible.  However it is not. Fierce warning notices say “no public right of way” etc etc, so we compliantly walked along the busy main road. But I realised later we should have been able to walk across the golf course, as you can across hundreds of other golf courses where a right of way exists.

On getting home I reported the problem to National Trails who forwarded it to North Yorkshire council, the highway authority.  This was their reply: “Thank you for your enquiry. We are working with the relevant authorities to try and improve access at this location.   You will be updated with any progress made.”

I will chase this up in due course but it does not look very hopeful.  The key question is: is there lawful public access across the golf course? If not, why not. We should be told.

 

 

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