Coastal Access Issues

When I started fishing from the North Devon Coast close to fifty years ago access to the coast was not a major issue with many marks freely accessible. During the 1980’s and onwards issues started to arise as the numbers of anglers fishing increased with many travelling long distances to fish the marks. Sadly, some of the anglers showed little respect for private property and sometimes left litter and in some cases broke down fences to gain access.

During recent years some marks have been operated on a permit only basis with an annual fee charged to allow access to private land to fish. Permits are generally obtained by local anglers who tend to respect the owners and their property accepting that times have changed and that to gain access to fish a charge is perhaps the new normal.

These access issues have perhaps been highligted further since COVID and lockdowns increased coastal visits by the general public.

In some cases certain areas have been closed to angling to ensure maximum potential use of the venue for commercial purposes. There are concerns that anglers breaking the rules regarding access to closed areas could jeopardise access to wider areas.

I hope that those reading this will know of the areas and appreciate the issues. It would be sad if those who have invested in permits and follow the rules are denied access to several prime marks due to anglers fishing a couple of marks that have been closed off. Once access is lost it is seldom regained.

Respect of private property is essential if anglers wish to maintain access to the coast.

Some areas of South Devon have become virtual no go areas as a result of anti social behaviour by a minority it is to be hoped this does not happen in North Devon.