Missing link on coast path

A missing link to the coastal path along the River Severn has been held up at a motorway crossing. The footpath runs from Aust to Clevedon, and will eventually form a national trail along the entire coast of England.

But the path currently stops at the Severn Bridge, which the M48 runs over, and progress has been blocked by safety works. Staff at South Gloucestershire Council warned that the project to connect the path with northern sections was “going to take some time”.

The King Charles III England Coast Path is being delivered by Natural England, and aims to provide people with more access to nature. But locally there have been setbacks and delays, councillors on the public rights of way and commons committee were told.

Lindsay Saunders, a public rights of way officer, said: “At the north section where it joins to the Severn Bridge, we’ve got quite a few issues up there because it’s going over land where there hasn’t been a footpath. There might have been one back in the dark ages, but there certainly hasn’t been one since the map was drawn up. The Severn Bridge area is looked after by a company called Amey, who are very very twitchy about anything over there. The section has got to be pushed through, it’s got to go over the old motorway fence, we’ve got to remove a bund, it’s got to go along the top of a cliff, it’s got to be fenced. So it’s a long work in progress and it’s going to take some time.

“The biggest hurdle at the moment is going to be getting agreement from Amey to make a hole in their fence and move the earth bund with a JCB. They’re quite twitchy because it’s all close to the cliff, and they think Natural England are completely mad having it so close to the cliff.”

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service