After 20 years of walking sections, that've gradually linked together, I've now got a continuous line of footsteps round the edge of England, along coasts, Offa's Dyke and the Scottish border. It didn't start off as a plan to walk right round, or I'd have done it systematically. Rather it just grew until, sometime in 2013, it suddenly looked possible. After that I was serious...... Skegness to London in 2012/13; Skegness to Berwick and the border in 2013/14; Chepstow to Minehead in late 2014; Milford on Sea to Dawlish in early 2015; from Chirk to the Dee to Bowness on Solway in 2015, then wading over the Solway and along the Border this year.
Now, of course, there are deviations that bug me: places where I think I might have hugged the strand more closely than I did. Some of these were military ranges, to which I'll have to return when there's no firing; another is Hinkley Point, where the path along the coast is closed and I was forced to walk alongside the inland security fence, interviewed by security goons with little English. Nothing to do about that one, till new Hinkley is built. There's also Orford Ness, where access is made as difficult as possible but where fisherman are apparently allowed to walk out below the high tide line. I intend to discreetly follow them.
But, what really interest me are places where I read of someone forcing a more seaward route, possible only at low water.
1) Cumberland. Moricambe (NOT Morecambe) Bay. I walked round, over Whitrigg Bridge, but read accounts of people crossing oversands from Skinburness/Grune Point to Longdyke Scar/Cardurnock.
2) North Norfolk. The Norfolk Coast path is a favourite, which i've walked several times. But, let's be honest; it's a coast path where the sea is largely out of view. Great for watching geese, but, Holkham Sands asides, not really on the coast till you're E of Cley. I hear stories that it's possible to (i) cross from Brancaster or Brancaster Staithe to Scolt Head Island, walk along the seaward side of the island, then cross back onto the mainland at Gun Hill on the W end of Holkham Sands, all on a single low tide (I once tried to wade the channel at Brancaster and got into choppy water up to my waist before retreating, but may have misunderstood the best place to try) and (ii) cross from Blakeney to the Watch House and swing out to Blakeney Point. These would give more seaward lines. It may also be possible to hug the coast more closely around Titchwell, where the coast path does a big inland loop, but I gather the RSPB have been faffing round with the sea defences and can find nothing about how this has affected matters..
3) Northumberland. Mainland coast adjacent to Lindisfarne. I came N to Bamburgh Castle and with a friend, braver that I (it scared me) waded Budle Bay on a falling tide to Ross Back Sands. It was draining fast. We then walked up the sands to the marker pillars adjacent to Lindisfarne Harbour, but could find no way to follow the mainland shore after these, just marsh and 'keep out' signs, and so were forced all the way inland to Belford, following the (very beautiful) Northumberland 'Coast' Path but only rejoining the coast a little south of the Holy Island Causeway. This was a big deviation and I keep thinking that there must be a better way through.
4) Kent. Dover White Cliffs. I'm not sure I want to go back to Dover. Negotiating the traffic system on foot as you reach the town is a pain in the a**e. Only Immingham and Tilbury depressed me more. But, there another possible closer-to-the-sea route. From Folkestone, I swung up the hill past the Martello Towers to the Valiant Sailor pub and then followed the cliff tops. These initially stand some way back from the sea with a scrub area - the Warren- below. I gather it is possible and straightforward to walk some way along the shore here, cross the railway footbridge then follow a path up the developing cliff (to the Cliff Top Cafe, i think). But I've also picked up rumours that it's possible, at low tide, to keep low on the beach, below the white cliffs and reach Samphire Hoe. Now, that'd be interesting, unless it's blocked by cliff falls.
Does anyone here have any experience of these seaward alternatives?