Wales Coast Path

Coordinates: 53°12′40″N 3°00′58″W / 53.211°N 3.016°W / 53.211; -3.016
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The coastline of Wales, showing start and end points of the trail. Inset: location of Wales within the United Kingdom
The stone at Chepstow marking the southern end of the Wales Coast Path, with the path's "dragon shell" logo
The Wales Coast Path shell logo

The Wales Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Cymru) is a long-distance footpath which follows the whole coastline of Wales. It opened on 5 May 2012. It is 870-mile (1,400 km) long, from Chepstow in the south to Queensferry in the north.[1]

Wales is the first country in the world to build a footpath along its entire coastline. The Path runs through eleven National Nature Reserves and other nature reserves, including those managed by The Wildlife Trusts or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).[2] Lonely Planet rated the coast of Wales first in its Best in Travel: top 10 regions for 2012.[3]

Description[change | change source]

The Wales Coast Path was opened on 5 May 2012, as the world's first coastal path to cover an entire country.[4][5][6] It follows the Welsh coastline from Chepstow in the south east to near Queensferry in the north. It joined together some existing paths, such as the North Wales Path, the Anglesey Coastal Path and the Llŷn Coastal Path. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a National Trail.[7] and in 2011 was voted by National Geographic magazine as the second-best coastal destination in the world.[8]

The 870 miles (1,400 km) long path goes through different coastal areas. These include the mouth of the River Dee, the seaside towns of north Wales, the Menai Strait, the Isle of Anglesey, the Llŷn Peninsula, Cardigan Bay, miles of sand in the National Park in Pembrokeshire, Gower, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, and Chepstow.[1]

The whole path can be used by walkers. Some sections can also be used by cyclists, families with pushchairs, people with restricted mobility, and horse riders.[2]

The Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales) set up the path, and each of 15 local government areas it passes through look after their own section.[9] There were already five coastal paths, in Pembrokeshire, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and the North Wales coast. These became five of the eight geographical areas[10] that now make up the path. The other three areas are made up of single and combined counties and county boroughs with coastlines.[11]

History and development[change | change source]

View from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on Marloes peninsula.

The Wales Coast Path was set up by the Welsh Government with the former Countryside Council for Wales, sixteen local authorities and two National Parks. Since 2007 the Welsh Government has spent £2 million per year to improve public access to the coast through its Coastal Access Improvement Programme. The European Regional Development Fund has also given £3.9 million over three years to support the project.[12][13]

The idea for the path was based on the success of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail[7] and the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path. Plans for the path were shown by First Minister Rhodri Morgan in June 2006, at the opening of the 125-mile path around Anglesey. It was thought the project would take up to five years; it has been nearer six.[14] Visitors to the Pembrokeshire and Anglesey coastal paths bring a lot of money into Wales. It was also seen as an important to encourage both locals and visitors to discover and enjoy Wales’ outdoor spaces, also gain health and welfare benefits from walking.

The Countryside Council for Wales said that improvements to the path would continue during 2012 and 2013. The path will follow the coastline as close as it is safe and practical. The completed path is expected to lead to making shorter circular paths, linking to inland towns and villages.

The opening[change | change source]

The official opening of the 870 miles (1,400 km) path took place in a number of places on 5 May 2012. These places showed the path’s beauty and ease of access for walkers of all ages, fitness and ability. To celebrate the opening, Ramblers Cymru, hosted the Big Welsh Coastal Walk, with over 5,500 people taking part.[15]

Northern Eye Books are writing the Official Guidebooks for five sections of the Wales Coast Path: North Wales Coast, Isle of Anglesey, Llyn Peninsula, Carmarthenshire and Gower, and the South Wales Coast.[16] They already publish the Official Guide for Anglesey, Walking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path by Carl Rogers. There are also guidebooks to the Ceredigion Coast Path and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path by other publishers.

The first anniversary of the opening of the path was marked on radio and television. It is estimated that in that first year some 2.8 million people walked parts of the path, adding £16 million to the Welsh economy.[17] It is estimated that more than 800,000 visitors to the path also stayed the night in one of the many guest-houses, B&B's and hotels along the route.[17]

A complete walk around Wales[change | change source]

The 870 miles (1,400 km) of the Wales Coast Path joins the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail.[18] This path follows the border with England, to make a 1,030 miles (1,660 km)walking path around almost the whole of Wales.

Sections of the path (from north to south) route on map
North Wales Coast & Dee Estuary - includes the North Wales Path, opened 1997, which covers parts of this section.[19]
Isle of Anglesey - includes the Anglesey Coastal Path, opened 2006.[20]
Menai, Llŷn & Meirionnydd - includes the Llŷn Coastal Path, opened 2006[21] and expanded to take in the rest of Gwynedd.[22]
Ceredigion - see Ceredigion Coast Path, opened 2008.[23]
Pembrokeshire - includes the Pembrokeshire Coast Path a National Trail, opened in 1970.[24]
Carmarthenshire - includes the Millennium Coastal Park, near Llanelli[25] and passes through Pembrey Country Park. The number of people using the Wales Coast Path (October 2011 to September 2012) in Carmarthenshire was 19,537.[26]
Gower & Swansea Bay - includes the Gower and Swansea Bay Coast Path, opened in 2012.[27]
South Wales Coast & Severn Estuary - includes the South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary Coastal Path, opened 2012.[28]

Problems[change | change source]

The Open Spaces Society is angry because some landowners will not allow the path to cross their land. This means 170 miles (270 km) – more than 20% of the route – will have to be on roads, sometimes out of sight of the sea. A Countryside Council for Wales spokeswoman said: “Just over 20% of the WCP is on road, slightly less than the average for national trails in Britain, which is in the region of 25%. This is mainly on quiet, country lanes.”[29]

In 2014 there was a temporary road route north of Cardigan, connecting Gwbert with Mwnt. The Ceredigion Coast Path section in that area could not be used because of legal actions.[30]

Walkers have a view overlooking a gypsy caravan site at Rover Way in Cardiff. People living here are worried about their privacy.[1]

Gallery[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "All-Wales coast path nears completion". BBC News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Wales Coast Path: map, pictures, access guide". 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  3. "Lonely Planet's Best in Travel: top 10 regions for 2012". 27 April 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  4. "Wales Coast Path officially opens with events in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Flint". BBC News. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. The world's first coastal path to cover an entire country has been officially opened in Wales.
  5. "Wales Coast Path set for a boost as entrepreneurs get to work". Ordnance Survey. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. The recently opened Wales Coast Path is the first coastal network in the world to cover an entire country.
  6. Morris, Steven (4 May 2012). "Wales coastal path offers a walk on the wild – and industrial – side". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Pembrokeshire Coast Path". National Trails. 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  8. "Pembrokeshire Coast Path walks off with accolade of being one of world's top trails". Wales Online. 10 August 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  9. Countryside Council for Wales: Wales Coast Path Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 3 October 2013
  10. Wales Coast Path Media Pack Archived 2012-05-24 at the Wayback Machine 2012, p.10, Accessed 19 October 2013
  11. "History". 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  12. "Welsh Government; Countryside and coastal access". 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  13. "Wales Coast Path - LDWA Long Distance Paths". 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  14. "All-Wales coastal path proposed". BBC News. London: BBC. 9 June 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  15. "Big Welsh Walk 2013 - Ramblers". 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  16. "Official guide books to document Wales Coast Path". 2014. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "WCP celebrates anniversary". Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  18. "Offa's Dyke Path National Trail". Archived from the original on 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  19. North Wales Path, publ. Conwy County Borough Council, 1997
  20. accessed 3 October 2013
  21. Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine accessed 3 October 2013
  22. Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine accessed 3 October 2013
  23. Archived 2014-06-07 at the Wayback Machine accessed 3 October 2013
  24. National Trails: Pembrokeshire Coast Archived 2014-07-01 at the Wayback Machine accessed 3 October 2013
  25. Wales Coast Path - The Carmarthenshire bit! Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine,, accessed 1 November 2013
  26. The Economic Impact of Wales Coast Path Visitor Spending on Wales 2012 Archived 2013-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, report for the Welsh Economy Research Unit of the Welsh Government, page 6; accessed 1 November 2013
  27. Single Path around Gower Coastline 1 October 2011, accessed 3 October 2013
  28. accessed 3 October 2013
  29. "Wales' new coast path still makes walkers tread more than 170 miles of roads". Wales Online. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  30. Ceredigion News, Court of Appeal dismisses Jenkins v. Welsh Minister's Case

Other websites[change | change source]

53°12′40″N 3°00′58″W / 53.211°N 3.016°W / 53.211; -3.016