The following message has been sent to Needs Ore Nature Reserve permit holders
Dear Permit Holder
Needs Ore Nature Reserve – Coastal Access
You may be aware of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 gave Natural England the duty to create a continuous public footpath around the coast of England. This is being done in stages, and officers have now been appointed to establish a path along the western Solent. The coastal path usually follows the land immediately above the high water mark, unless it is ‘excepted land’ (such as gardens attaching to residential property), when the path has to be routed inland. Areas designated for nature conservation are not ‘excepted’ in the legislation, so NE may well be proposing a continuous path from Park Shore to the Needs Ore and then along the sea wall in front of the Blackwater. In addition, any land between the path and the sea, and in some places inland of the path as well, will be designated ‘spreading room’ where people can picnic, play ball games etc.
We are concerned that this could have a serious effect on the nature reserve, particularly ground nesting and over wintering birds. Whilst one can ask walkers to keep dogs on leads we all know what will happen in reality; I am only too aware of your feelings when one person with or without their dog walks in front of the hides and the effect this has on the bird life. My fear is that if there is such a path we may quickly find there are no longer any Avocet chicks and other birds of interest to observe.
We will be proposing that the path takes an inland route around the whole of the nature reserve to avoid disturbance, not just to the wildlife, but also to those of you who enjoy a different form of access by quietly observing the bird life.
If any of you share our concerns about the coastal footpath and the effect that public access may have on the wildlife and the flora, I would very much like to hear you views either by email or by post.
Rachel Pearson BSc(Hons) MRICS
Resident Agent Beaulieu Estate
(Reproduced with permission)
If you would like to express any views, positive or negative, on the proposed route of the coastal path,please contact Rachel on the above email link.