'We've made an error' says Natural England (NE), over a report that revealed steps to a popular Isle of Wight beach had been 'permanently' closed.

The report, published by NE this month, revealed Appley Steps, in Shanklin had been removed from the proposed King Charles III England Coast Path (KCIIIECP) - a long-distance trail that is set to follow the coastline of England.

The report cited the route was 'too unstable' and repairs were deemed 'complex'. It said the steps closure was 'permanent'.

In response, the Isle of Wight Council told the County Press it is too early to say whether the current, temporary closure would be for good.

Read more: Isle of Wight seafront steps in Shanklin permanently closed

Now it has emerged, after the County Press contacted NE for clarification, that the use of the word 'permanent' was an 'error' by the person who wrote the report.

A spokesperson said it had been a 'misunderstanding' and the report has now been amended.

Appley Steps will still be excluded from the proposed coast path, they added.

What's the history of the closure of Appley Steps on the Isle of Wight?

  • The steps, near Rylstone Gardens, were first shut in November 2020 over subsidence fears.
  • After years of closure, they were reopened in July 2022 after new steps were constructed around the cliff fall.
  • However, safety fears saw them shut once again in January 2023.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “There has been no formal decision to permanently close Appley Steps.

"The council is awaiting a report from a geotechnical engineering team which will set out if there are any options for keeping the steps open.”

As part of plans to remodify the KCIIIECP, NE is seeking to re-route the path inland and increase the length of the walk to 749m from 482m.

A diversion will instead see the trail go via Everton Lane, Chine Avenue, Church Road, Chine Hollow and Popham Road.

It is the only viable option that avoids Shanklin Chine, a paid for tourist attraction, NE said.

It's estimated the proposed modified route would cost £2,000, as opposed to the original cost of £3,750.