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Much-needed makeover makes coast path on farmer's land better for all

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 12, 2012

Port Isaac in Cornwall, where three miles of the South West Coast Path have been improved and expanded

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A combination of unusual partners has brought a major improvement to a three-mile stretch of the South West Coast Path along the clifftops above Port Isaac.

Natural England, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) partnership and the South West Coast Path have joined forces with a private landowner to bring visual and practical improvement to the path on farmer Robert Sloman's Roscarrock Farm at St Endellion.

The project involved removing three miles of post and rail fencing by hand, clearing the debris away and replacing it with Chestnut stake fencing. Hugh Tyler, land management lead adviser of Natural England's Cornwall team, explained that the post and rail fence had been installed 30 years ago when negotiations were completed over the route of the coastal path.

At that time it was considered a highway so a highways-style fence was erected to safeguard stock – but changes to the clifftop meant that the fence was actually pinning walkers to the edge of the coast.

Landowner Mr Sloman, a member of the Cornwall branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), has worked with all the interested parties using voluntary agreements to enable the coast path to be improved and expanded. He said: "Because I am part of Natural England's higher level stewardship scheme – which aims to deliver major environmental benefits – I was able to get some help towards replacing the fence and the result has delivered significant visual improvements to the landscape as well as providing a practical and effective fence for me.

"I think this is a real 'good news' story and a clear demonstration that these issues can generally be resolved by voluntary agreement."

Mr Tyler added: "I am delighted that after a year of joint working we have reached this positive outcome.

"This is an excellent example of a partnership in action, with everybody working together to deliver positive benefits for the landscape, for users and for the owner. We are grateful to everyone involved and delighted that the work at Roscarrock Farm has already received many positive comments."

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