Introduced via a bill last year, the government had planned to spend £50m connecting a 30-foot wide walking path around the country. The 2,500 mile route would have gone through beaches, farms and golf courses.
Saving: The path was supposed to cut £50m but could have cost more given the prospect of lengthy judicial reviews across the country by irate landowners.
The case to save it: Difficult. Even those who love a good ramble must see that improving the hiking trail around Britain’s coast is less of a priority than – for example – care for the elderly. Hypothetically, an enthusiast could claim that the path might encourage more hiking, which would make the public more healthy, which would cut down on the cost of running the NHS, etc. Tenuous.
The case to cut it: This was one idea conceived during the times of plenty which could never survive grave public spending cuts. Apart from anything else, the theory was never going to live up to the rhetoric. Any idea that you would be able to walk the entire circumference of Britain alongside the sea was false. Private gardens would have been excluded from the exercise – meaning that you would have to detour inland time and time again. In which case, why even bother?
There are plenty of existing coastal trails which are perfectly good. (May I recommend the cliffs and beaches of Pembrokeshire – pictured above?)