Bid to improve beach access

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THE first steps have been taken to get a heavily overgrown coastal access path popular with dog walkers re-opened to the wider public.

The footpath from the southern end of Filey Golf Club down the cliff to the beach at Long Whins Gill is poorly marked and barely passable.

But despite its long history of use by coastal walkers, it is not currently included on the county council’s definitive map of public rights of way – meaning it is unlikely to be cleared.

Filey county councillor Mike Cockerill has now instigated the process of getting it included after being approached by a member of the public.

He said: “If you know about it, you can get through, but it’s not obvious. At the part where it branches off, you have to go through something like a tunnel in a hedge, then there are some steps that are overgrown. You have to crouch down to get through it.

“But if it gets on the definitive map, it would just be a matter of cutting back some vegetation, which would allow it to be used and provide a convenient access for anyone walking along the clifftop to the beach.

“Equally, it would serve for people walking along the beach from Primrose Valley to Filey, where sometimes you can get cut off by the tide.”

In order to achieve the designation, it must be proved that a footpath has been in regular public use for at least 20 years.

Cllr Cockerill said he had seen a map from 1913 marking the path, while people remember using it for many years and it can be distinguished on historic aerial images.

He said: “I’ve provided the evidence to the county council, and it’s going through the process. There are notices up, and providing no-one objects, it should be added to the map.”

A similar application was made for an overgrown coastal access path on land which now belongs to Essential Vivendi. However, the start of the path, at Primrose Valley holiday park, is quickly met by a tall steel boundary fence and an initial application was turned down for not meeting the ‘access’ criteria.

Cllr Cockerill said no-one knows for sure who owns the cliff slope next to the golf course where the path runs down, although it was not the golf club. The path takes walkers down to the northern bank of the stream known as Long Whins Gill; the Primrose Valley path is on the southern side of the valley.

The last Government launched a bid to make as much as possible of the British coastline accessible to walkers.