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King Charles III England Coast Path

The National Trails Association in mid 2023 announced the renaming of the England Coast Path to the the ‘King Charles III England Coast Path’.

Also until 2023, Natural England (NE) were charged originally with creating a coastal path round the English coastline. It is now understood that this responsibility for our area has been passed over by them to the newly formed ‘South East Coast Path National Trail Partnership’.

Natural England (NE) published on 21 June 2017 their report recommending the route which the England Coast Path (ECP) should take between Whitstable and Iwade.  The full report can be accessed at  The main parts of the overview dealing with the route in the Faversham area are at pages 17-19, 25-26 and 35.

Faversham Footpaths Group held several meetings with NE during the two years they took to prepare the report and made a number of proposals regarding the possible route.  The principal recommendations were as we expected.   NE propose that the ECP should follow the existing Saxon Shore Way route subject to the following main points:

  • Instead of running along Abbey Street, it will follow the promenade at Provender Walk and Belvedere Quay, with the removal of part of the wall which currently prevents access between the two;
  • At Standard Quay the route will go along the water’s edge rather than between the buildings;
  • While the recommended route went round the back of Faversham Reach and the Brents Industrial Estate, NE gave an absolute commitment to vary the route subsequently to go along the promenades at Faversham Reach and Waterside Close when the latter route (approved following the public inquiry held in January 2018) is opened.

Landowners and other interested parties had until 16 August 2017 to make objections or representations.  These will be determined by an independent planning inspector, following which the final route will be approved.

The Group warmly welcomes the proposals regarding Provender Walk and Standard Quay.  While it would have been preferable if the recommended route at Faversham Reach and Waterside Close followed the Creekside, it is understandable that NE should have decided to let KCC continue to make the running with its Orders and then vary the ECP route subsequently.  While the residents have argued that the fact that NE have recommended following the Saxon Shore Way demonstrates that NE believe that it is a perfectly satisfactory route, this is unconvincing.  If this were the case, NE would not have given an unqualified commitment to vary the route if the Orders were approved – as they since have been – and implemented: they clearly believed that the Creekside route would more closely match the criteria governing the ECP and should therefore be followed when it is available.

An important point to note regarding NE’s proposed interim route at Faversham Reach and Waterside Close is that the ‘spreading room’ provisions would apply to the land between the route and the Creek – which means that, with the exception of obviously private areas such as houses and gardens, there would be a right of public access to the communal areas of both housing developments and the Brents Industrial Estate.  The Group’s view has been that, for this reason, it would have been in the residents’ interests to support the Orders for a Creekside public right of way and then to support a variation order to move the ECP to match it.

The Group has made representations opposing a proposal to exclude part of the Iron Wharf Boatyard from the ‘spreading room’ provisions: see FFG – Coast Path – representation re Iron Wharf recommendation  It also wrote in support of the recommendation to provide refuges/passing places for pedestrians on the road at Oare which is used by lorries going to and from East Kent Recycling Ltd.

NE had hoped  that a final decision on their recommendations and the various representations would be made in autumn 2018.  However, progress on this report, and on similar reports, has been delayed by the need to take account of an EU Court of Justice ruling relating to habitat assessments.

The Group wrote to Helen Whately MP in June 2020, pointing out that it is over three years since NE recommended a route and asking when the S of S would reach a decision.  Defra’s response said that the aim was “to have all stretches of the path either open or with establishment works underway by the end of 2021” but failed to respond on the likely timetable for approving the route.  The Group asked Mrs Whately to raise this matter again with Defra.  She has agreed to write to the Minister emphasising the importance of settling the route through Faversham.

However, the group were informed via e-mail by DEFRA on 13th January 2021 that the Secretary of State had fully approved the England Coast Path, details of which were circulated to members shortly after receipt. The following weblink gives access to that notification:

The following link gives access to the comments on the proposals:

When the Coast Path is opened all the common areas, those being roads, paths and green areas not within the curtilage of a dwelling such as Waterside and Faversham Reach Estates, will become the Coastal Margin and therefore open to the public.  However Natural England have accepted our suggestion and undertaken that as soon as the associated creek-side path is open they will introduce a diversion order to move the Trail on to the path which would prevent public access to the estates and enable the residents to close their access gate if they wished.

In the meantime as we know, the UK was still facing the COVID 19 situation, which has put some delay into the progress of creation parts of the path. However in June 2022, the wall between Provender Walk and towards Posillipo’s Restaurant was demolished allowing the first new real further access to the new creek path.

In 2023 the new development of houses on the former Oil Depot are completed, where a creek foot-way through to Standard Quay is now constructed for access, adjacent to where the path from Provender Walk joins Belvedere Road. This section is now opened as approved by Swale Borough Council Planning Department, where it is hoped that the newly formed ‘South East Coast Path National Trail Partnership’, plan eventually a more direct link from Provender walk to be provided to enable this section also to be incorporated into the newly renamed King Charles III England Coast Path.

Also during 2023 FFG have been negotiating with KCC PROW who have recently presented a Planning Application for a scheme funded and designed by the Landowners to re-route ZFI at the Southern end of the East side of Oare Creek (that currently passes through inaccessible flooded former excavation works) to enable walkers to avoid the current narrow road route shared with Heavy Vehicle Traffic.