FORESHORE, that part of the seashore which lies between high- and low-water mark at ordinary tides. In the United Kingdom it is ordinarily and prima facie vested in the crown, except where it may be vested in a subject by ancient grant or charter from the crown, or by prescription. Although numerous decisions, dating from 1795, have confirmed the prima facie title of the crown, S.A. Moore in his History of the Foreshore contends that the presumption is in favour of the subject rather than of the crown. But a subject can establish a title by proving an express grant from the crown or giving sufficient evidence of user from which a grant may be presumed. The chief acts showing title to foreshore are, taking wreck or royal fish, right of fishing, mining, digging and taking sand, seaweed, etc., embanking and enclosing. There is a public right of user in that part of the foreshore which belongs to the crown, for the purpose of navigation or fishery, but there is no right of passage over lands adjacent to the shore, except by a particular custom. So that, in order to make the right available, there must be a highway or other public land giving access to the foreshore. Thus it has been held that the public have no legal right to trespass on land above high-water mark for the purpose of bathing in the sea, though if they can get to it they may bathe there (Blundell v. Catteral, 1821, 5 B. & Ad. 268). There is no right in the public to take sand, shells or seaweed from the shore, nor, except in certain places by local custom, have fishermen the right to use the foreshore or the soil above it for drawing up their boats, or for drying their nets or similar purposes.
See S.A. Moore, History of the Foreshore and the Law relating thereto (1888); Coulson and Forbes, Law of Waters (1902).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)