WORSENING erosion of a popular clifftop footpath has prompted fears for the safety of walkers.
The stretch between Barton and Milford near Taddiford Gap has worn perilously close to the edge. It has already had its right of way status removed as a safety measure to deter users.
Barton resident Mark Janicki told the A&T it had been about four weeks since he last walked the area, and said: “What struck me was the amount of erosion that had occurred along that part of the cliff path.”
He added: “My concerns are two-fold in raising this issue. The first concern is that it will lead to closure of the path, a very undesirable outcome.
“The second concern is that there are real safety issues particularly in these areas of narrowing cliff path of which walkers and others should be aware.
“It is not uncommon to see young families walking along this part of the coast path – and the tourist season is beginning to pick up.”
To keep the area open safely, Mr Janicki questioned whether the path could be diverted away from the edge and through adjacent grass fields.
A spokesperson for NFDC said: “Coastal erosion has led to the loss of sections of the right of way between Barton-on-Sea and Hordle Cliffs.
“There is no longer a ‘right of way’ along the cliff top. Public access is now provided by landowners on a permissive basis.
“It is likely that erosion will be ongoing in this area, leading to future temporary permissive path closures for public safety reasons.”
Erosion is also an issue further east at Hordle Cliff, near Milford, where the shingle has been worn from underneath beach huts.
NFDC recently ordered owners of the 20 worst-affected structures to take them down after ruling out coastal defence measures as not “economically justified”.