A new National Trail along the south bank of the River Thames, called the England Coast Path, is opening in 2020. How will it be branded? Does it already have a local identity? Natural England invite you to join the conversation and share your views by 31 March.
The England Coast Path, which will give walkers access to England’s coast, is opening in sections and will be fully complete in 2020. When complete, at 2,700 miles, it will be one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world. One section of this new coastal trail will follow the south bank of the Thames linking to London at Woolwich, making the connection between our capital city and the sea.
The existing Thames Path National Trail, which starts at the source of the River Thames and currently ends at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich will now connect to the England Coast Path. This means that in 2020 we will finally complete the long aspired for 215 mile National Trail along the River Thames from its source to the sea.
Whilst the new National Trail will be created under the England Coast Path legislation, we recognise that the Thames Path already has a local identity. We want to find out from you whether you see this new National Trail as adding to that identity. Do you want the route to be referred to as the ‘Thames Path’ on signage, or would you like to celebrate the river’s link to the sea by referencing the England Coast Path?
The Thames link to the sea is not always recognised. It is more than just a river. It’s tidal. From the sea to Teddington it’s an estuary, which means twice a day the sea flows into the river creating a marine habitat which is home to seahorses, seals and even dolphins. The river also has significant cultural importance. It has been described as “liquid history”. It provides the life blood of London and has given birth to the capital which has been carved out on its banks. The rich history of London can be discovered both in the riverbed, as archaeological remains, and on the river’s banks. This story and London’s history has been developed due to the Thames connection with the sea.
We want to know what you think:
1. Would you like the new National Trail along the south bank of the Thames from Woolwich (London) to Grain (Kent) to be known and signposted as:
- “Thames Path”
- “Thames Path and England Coast Path”
- “England Coast Path”
- “Thames Path links to England Coast Path”
Example signs above that we could install along the route
The South West Coast Path commissioned artists to engage with the local community and design a sculpture to mark the start and finish of this iconic trail. Although no funding has been identified yet, the Thames Path could also mark the start and finish of the trail at the source of the Thames (in Gloucestershire), and at the river’s mouth/ sea (in Kent).
2. Do you have any ideas for a marker, a stone, a plaque that could be erected to mark the start and end of the National Trail on the River Thames?
An industrial e.g. wrought iron sculpture, or plaque of Old Father Thames with examples of the sea-life you can find in the river at the Thame’s source and river mouth? The pictures below are examples of Cotswolds and North Downs Way.
3. Where do you think the exact “sea” endpoint of the path along the Thames should be e.g. Grain Coastal Park?
PLEASE SEND YOUR RESPONSES TO SouthEastCoastalAccess@naturalengland.org.uk by 31 March 2018