The Thames Path is to be extended to the coast… or is it?

Plans are under way to extend the Thames Path all the way to the English Coast, thereby making a ‘Source to Sea’ trail.

The path currently stops at the Thames Barrier. But the idea is to extend the South-East English Coast Path, which will be known as the Thames English Coast Path (or Thames ECP for short). Apparently, according to the rules that guide where the Thames ECP can go, the path can run inland up to the first foot crossing.

In the case of the Thames, this means that the English Coast Path can go as far inland as the Woolwich Foot Tunnel – which is just over a mile to the east of the Thames Barrier and the end of the Thames Path.

What’s more, there’s already a footpath, the Thames Path extension, that takes the trail east beyond the Thames Barrier and down to Crayford Ness (which is also on the London Outer Orbital Path, or LOOP).

So in other words, the existing legislation would seem to suggest that there is nothing – or, at least, nothing legal – to prevent the two national trails joining up and completing a Source-to-Sea trail.

But according to reports, there are still various legal hurdles to jump in order to get this project signed off. And once it has been, they’ll still need to build a bridge across the Crayford Ness to allow walkers to continue on the Thames’ southern bank all the way to the English Channel.