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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011
Work on Kent section of England coast path to begin
St Margaret's Bay
St Margaret's Bay will be on the first section of the coastal path

A 20-mile stretch of Kent coast is one of the first parts of a new path to be made around the shores of England.

Natural England, the government agency which is overseeing the project said it is what the public want.

The whole path, will cost an estimated £50m and work is is expected to start later this year.

However, Thanet North Conservative MP, Roger Gale, who chaired the committee which oversaw the legislation for the new path has some concerns about it.

It will be an international attraction
Neville Machin, Kent Ramblers Association

"It is not my job to have a view. I just oversee it but sometimes you cannot help but raise an eyebrow and say, is that going to work? We'll see," he said.

"I can't see the money being put up in the financial state we are in."

Kent ramblers have been campaigning for three years for the path and they believe it will benefit everyone.

Neville Machin from Kent Ramblers Association said: "It's absolutely fantastic news. It will be an international attraction and it is very exciting."

Oystercatcher
Pegwell Bay is of international importance for oystercatchers

Natural England, who will map out the path, has a legal duty to protect areas of wildlife but, with more people comes greater disturbance to birds.

Tony Swandale from Kent Wildlife Trust said it is a question of striking the right balance.

"It's vitally important these birds are able to rest and feed without being disturbed. It will have an impact, if birds are repeatedly disturbed that can have consequences on their survival," he said.

The first stretch of coastline to Weymouth Bay is due to be completed in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The England coastal path is expected to link up to the existing path around Scotland's coastline, and a new path is also being proposed around Wales, with the aim of making it possible to walk around the complete coastline of Great Britain.

For more on the England coastal path, watch Inside Out on BBC One South East on Monday 10 January at 7.30pm

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Walkers are set to be able to walk around the whole coast of Great Britain




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