The Wales Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Cymru) is a long-distance footpath which follows, or runs close to, the majority of the coastline of Wales. It opened on 5 May 2012, and offers a 870-mile (1,400 km) walking route from Chepstow in the south to Queensferry, Flintshire, in the north. 
Wales is the first country in the world to provide a dedicated footpath close to most of its 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). Lonely Planet rated the coast of Wales first in its Best in Travel: top 10 regions for 2012.
The Wales Coast Path was developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with the former Countryside Council for Wales, sixteen local authorities and two National Parks. Since 2007 the Welsh Government has invested in improving public access to the Welsh coast through its Coastal Access Improvement Programme. In addition to this funding from the Welsh Government and the coastal local authorities of approximately £2 million per year, the European Regional Development Fund has additionally allocated nearly £3.9 million over three years in support of the project.
The idea was developed from a desire to build on the economic success of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path. Plans for the new all-Wales coastal path were first unveiled by First Minister Rhodri Morgan in June 2006, when he officially opened the 125-mile route around Anglesey. It was anticipated that the Wales Coast Path project, which would improve access and link up existing paths, would take up to five years; it has been nearer six. Both the Pembrokeshire and Anglesey coastal paths were considered as major contributors to the visitor economy of Wales, and in addition to financial benefits it was also seen as an important initiative in encouraging both locals and visitors to discover and enjoy Wales’ outdoor spaces, and in the health and welfare benefits that such paths provide.
The Countryside Council for Wales, which supervised the project, had said that improvements to the quality and alignment of the route would continue during 2012 and 2013 to ensure that the path follows the Welsh coastline as close as it is safe and practical. Over time, the completed path is expected to lead to the creation of circular coastal routes, as links to inland towns and villages are improved.
The Wales Coast Path was launched on 5 May 2012, and was heralded as the world's first coastal path to cover an entire country. It follows the entire Welsh coastline from Chepstow, Monmouthshire, in the south to Queensferry, Flintshire, in the north. Many parts already had established paths, such as the North Wales Path, the Anglesey Coastal Path and the Llŷn Coastal Path. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path had been a designated National Trail, and in 2011 was voted by National Geographic magazine as the second-best coastal destination in the world.
The path travels through 882 miles (1,419 km) of coastal landscape (although it is usually quoted as 870 miles (1,400 km)), from the mouth of the River Dee, along the northern coast of Wales with its seaside towns such as Conwy, over the Menai Strait onto the Isle of Anglesey, past Caernarfon, and then around the Llŷn Peninsula and down the sweep of Cardigan Bay past Harlech, Aberystwyth, and Cardigan, through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to Tenby, around the Gower Peninsula to Swansea, along the waterfront of Cardiff Bay and Cardiff, to Chepstow.
The whole path is accessible to walkers and, where practical, some sections are suitable for cyclists, families with pushchairs, people with restricted mobility, and horse riders.
Overall responsibility for establishing the path lay with the Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales), but management on the ground rests with the 15 local government areas it passes through. Five waymarked long-distance coast paths were already established, in Pembrokeshire, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and the northern coast of Wales. These formed the basis for five of the eight geographical sections that now make up the path. The remaining three areas are made up of single and combined counties and county boroughs with coastlines.
The Wales Coast Path is not a National Trail although it does link with the Offa's Dyke Path, which loosely follows the Wales–England border. Together they make a 1,030-mile (1,660 km) continuous walking route around almost the whole of Wales.
The Wales Coast path website divides the 870-mile (1,400 km) coast route into sections with an accompanying map. These are (from north to south):
|North Wales Coast & Dee Estuary
||68 mi (109 km)||North Wales Path, opened 1997, covers parts of this section.||Flintshire: 27 mi (43 km)
Denbighshire: 7 mi (11 km)
Conwy: 35 mi (56 km)
|Isle of Anglesey
||132 mi (212 km)||Anglesey Coastal Path, opened 2006.||Isle of Anglesey|
|Menai, Llŷn & Meirionnydd
||189 mi (304 km)||Llŷn Coastal Path 91 mi (146 km) opened 2006 and expanded to take in the rest of Gwynedd.||Gwynedd|
||72 mi (116 km)||Ceredigion Coast Path opened 2008.||Powys: 5 mi (8.0 km)
Ceredigion: 67 mi (108 km)
||186 mi (299 km)||Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a National Trail, opened in 1970.||Pembrokeshire|
||68 mi (109 km)||Millennium Coastal Park, 13 mi (21 km), near Llanelli, opened 2002||Carmarthenshire|
|Gower & Swansea Bay
||71 mi (114 km)||Gower Coast Path (Informal route, 2005)||Swansea: 56 mi (90 km)
Neath Port Talbot: 16 mi (26 km)
|South Wales Coast & Severn Estuary
||97 mi (156 km)||Coastal parts of the Valeways Millennium Heritage Trail, opened 2001.||Bridgend: 12 mi (19 km)
Vale of Glamorgan: 38 mi (61 km)
Cardiff: 9 mi (14 km)
Newport: 26 mi (42 km)
Monmouthshire: 15 mi (24 km)
The official opening of the 870-mile (1,400 km) path took place in a number of locations on 5 May 2012 highlighting the path’s beauty and ease of access for walkers of all ages, fitness and ability. To help celebrate the opening, Ramblers Cymru hosted the Big Welsh Coastal Walk, one of the largest mass participation events ever seen in Wales.
The Countryside Council for Wales asked Chester-based outdoor specialists Northern Eye Books to create the official guidebooks for five of the seven main sections of the Wales Coast Path: North Wales Coast, Isle of Anglesey, Llyn Peninsula, Carmarthenshire and Gower, and the South Wales Coast. They already publish the Official Guide for Anglesey, Walking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path by Carl Rogers. The remaining titles were due for publication in late 2012 and 2013. There were existing guides 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, and it is estimated that in that first year some 2.8 million people walked stretches of the path, contributing £16 million to the Welsh economy. Further to this, it is estimated that more than 800,000 visitors to the path also stayed the night in one of the many guest-houses, B&Bs and hotels along the route.
The Open Spaces Society has criticised some landowners who do not allow the path onto their coastal land. This means 170 miles (270 km) – more than 20% of the route – will be on roads, sometimes out of sight of the sea. In response, 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."
There is currently a temporary road route north of Cardigan, connecting Gwbert with Mwnt; the actual Ceredigion Coast Path section within that vicinity is currently unavailable because of legal proceedings.
The world's first coastal path to cover an entire country has been officially opened in Wales.
The recently opened Wales Coast Path is the first coastal network in the world to cover an entire country.
The Anglesey Coastal Path (formally the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path) is a 200-kilometre (124 mi) long-distance footpath around the island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in North Wales. The route is part of the Wales Coast Path.Castell Moel
Castell Moel (also known as Greencastle, Green Castle, Humphreys Castle, or Castle Mole) is the remains of a 16th-century fortified manor house in the community of Llangain in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and also a medieval motte about 600 yards (550 m) to the south of the manor house. The remains are approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south-west Carmarthen and 0.8 miles (1.3 km) north-east of the village of Llangain. Three miles to the north-west is Carmarthen Castle, and five miles to the south-west is Llansteffan Castle.
In 1917 the then Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Monmouthshire (now RCAHMW) described the site as "showing a few vestiges of the foundation walls of what appears to be a 14th or early 15th century castle". The existence of Castell Moel in the 15th century is confirmed by a poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi, "I Nicolas Ryd o Castell Moel."The castle stands on a plateau overlooking the River Towy, and the overgrown remains are now thought to be of a late medieval L-plan hall house, once owned by the Rede family. The main eastern block is a first floor hall and set in the re-entrant angle, is an adjoining high stair turret. The western block is a two-storey wing, with a porch and a cellar and the walls of the castle, once supported a crenellated parapet. It is doubtful that the building was ever intended to be defended.The 1917 report also stated that the remains of a motte and bailey castle were easily traceable, and that it became known as the old castle. A much more recent (sometime after 1990) visit by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust could find no trace of the older castle.The Wales Coast Path (Carmarthen to Llansteffan section) passes through the associated Green Castle Woods, a nature reserve managed by the Woodland Trust.Ceredigion Coast Path
The Ceredigion Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Ceredigion) is a waymarked long distance footpath in the United Kingdom, on the coast of Ceredigion, Wales. It is 65 miles (105 km) in length, running along the coast of Cardigan Bay from Cardigan (52.0810°N 4.6608°W / 52.0810; -4.6608 (Ceredigion Coast Path, southern end)) to Ynyslas (52.5271°N 4.0495°W / 52.5271; -4.0495 (Ceredigion Coast Path, northern end)).
The path forms one section of the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales from Chepstow to Queensferry, opened in 2012.Deborah's Hole Camp
Deborah's Hole Camp (also known as The Knave) is an Iron Age hillfort situated atop the cliff above Deborah's Hole cave in the unitary authority of Swansea, Wales. It is crossed by the Wales Coast Path.England Coast Path
The England Coast Path is a proposed long-distance National Trail which will follow the coastline of England. When complete, it will be 2,795 miles (4,500 kilometres) in length.
The trail is being implemented by Natural England, a non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment is protected and improved. It also has a responsibility to help people enjoy, understand and access the natural environment.In December 2014 the UK Government, encouraged by the success of the Wales Coast Path, announced that more than £5 million of additional funding was being committed over the following 5 years, to ensure that the England Coast Path will be completed by 2020, a decade earlier than would have otherwise been possible. In March 2016 a 58-mile (93 km) stretch from Brean Down to Minehead, which incorporates the West Somerset Coast Path, was opened and designated as part of the England Coast Path.Gower and Swansea Bay Coast Path
The Gower and Swansea Bay Coast Path is part of the Wales Coast Path, an 1,400-kilometre (870 mi) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales that opened in 2012. The Gower and Swansea Bay stretch is 156 kilometres (97 mi) in length, running along the coast of the Gower Peninsula from Loughor, Swansea to Kenfig Dunes near Port Talbot, South Wales. The number of people using the Wales Coast Path (October 2011 to September 2012) in the Swansea local authority area was 349,333.The path passes through the first area in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (1956) and is home to 10 nature reserves, 24 Wildlife Trust reserves, 32 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and five Special Areas of Conservation. The path is maintained and administered by two county councils, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
The highest point of Gower is The Beacon at Rhossili Down at 193 metres (633 ft) overlooking Rhossili Bay. Pwll Du and the Bishopton Valley form a statutory Local Nature Reserve. The southern coast consists of a series of small, rocky or sandy bays, such as Langland and Three Cliffs, and larger beaches such as Port Eynon, Rhossili and Oxwich Bay. The north of the peninsula has fewer beaches, and is home to the cockle-beds of Penclawdd.List of places along Wales Coast Path
This is a list of cities, towns, villages and hamlets on or near the Wales Coast Path, a long distance walk which follows the coast of Wales from Chepstow to Chester. It is divided into sections corresponding to those used to market and promote the route.
Column 1 lists the settlements, column 2 shows in which administrative community the settlement is located and column 3 the principal area in which it is to be found.Llanfachraeth
Llanfachraeth is a village and community in the Welsh county of Anglesey. It is located near the west coast of the island, at the head of the Alaw estuary, 6.2 miles (10.0 km) east of Holyhead, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) south west of Amlwch and 11.3 miles (18.2 km) north west of Llangefni. The A5025 road runs through the village. A bus service operates along this road daily, except for Sundays, running between Cemaes, Llanfaethlu, Llanfachraeth and Holyhead. The Wales Coast Path is forced inland here to cross the Afon Alaw. The village has a pub and accommodation is provided by the Holland Hotel.At the 2001 census the community had a population of 566, increasing slightly at the 2011 census to 589.In the extreme north of the community, on the border with Llanfaethlu, stands Gronant, a Grade II* listed sub-medieval house dating from around 1540. A second house was built around 1618. In the 19th century the two houses were joined and a bell turret, used to call servants for meals, was added. The former servants' loft contains fragments of an original wallpainting. Other notable buildings in or near the village includes the Church of St Figael one mile to the east, Capel Abarim, Capel Pont yr Arw, and Bethesda Congregational Chapel, all Grade II listed buildings, but the Church of St Machraeth itself is not listed.The Alaw estuary forms part of the Beddmanarch–Cymyran site of special scientific interest, which also extends across the mudflats between Holy Island and mainland Anglesey. The area contains large areas of seagrass and salt marsh, and is an important wintering area for ringed plovers, greenshanks, red-breasted mergansers and goldeneyes.The community includes the hamlet of Llanfigael. See St Figael's Church, Llanfigael.Llangrannog
Llangrannog (sometimes spelt as Llangranog) is a village and a community in Ceredigion, Wales, 6 miles (10 km) southwest of New Quay. It lies in the narrow valley of the River Hawen, which falls as a waterfall near the middle of the village. Llangrannog is on the Wales Coast Path.
Llangrannog's population was 775, according to the 2011 census; a 2.6% fall since the 796 people noted in 2001. The 2011 census showed 46.5% of the town's population could speak Welsh, a fall from 51.8% in 2001.Llŷn Coastal Path
The Llŷn Coastal Path is a waymarked 146-kilometre (91 mi) long-distance footpath running along the coast of the Llŷn Peninsula from Caernarfon to Porthmadog in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. A large part of the Llŷn Peninsula is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Devised and implemented by Gwynedd County Council and the Countryside Council for Wales, the path opened in 2006, though it has since been changed and improved. This work is continuing as part of the path's integration into the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales from Chepstow to Queensferry.Millennium Coastal Path
The Millennium Coastal Path is a 13 miles (21 km) pedestrian walkway and cycleway along the south coast of Carmarthenshire, providing a link between Llanelli and Pembrey Country Park. The cycleway forms a section of both the Celtic Trail cycle route (part of NCN 47) and the National Cycle Network NCN 4.
The Millennium Coastal Path runs through the Millennium Coastal Park. More than 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of industrial wasteland was remediated to construct the park, along 14 miles (23 km) of coastline. The Millennium Coastal Path may refer specifically to the 7 miles (11 km) cycle and walking path from The Llanelli Discovery Centre to Burry Port and Pembury Forest, and more generally to the 10 miles (16 km) section of the Wales Coast Path through the park from Bynea Gateway to Burry Port.On the evening of Monday 19 February 2007, a high tide combined with a high storm swell caused severe damage to a section of the path and cycle route near Burry Port. A 440 yards section was damaged with complete loss of a 160 yards section.North Wales Path
The North Wales Path (Welsh: Llwybr y Gogledd) is a long-distance walk of some 60 miles (97 km) that runs close to the coast of northern Wales between Prestatyn in the east and Bangor in the west. Parts of it overlap with the Wales Coast Path. The path runs along parts of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The path was devised, implemented and maintained by the then Countryside Council for Wales (now succeeded by Natural Resources Wales) and three councils: Gwynedd, Conwy, and Denbighshire.Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Welsh: Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro) is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in west Wales.
It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline. It is one of three National Parks in Wales, the others being the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) and Snowdonia (Eryri).Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Sir Benfro), also often called the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, is a designated National Trail in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales. It was established in 1970, and is 186 miles (299 km) long, mostly at cliff-top level, with a total of 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent. At its highest point – Pen yr afr, on Cemaes Head – it reaches a height of 574 feet (175 m), and at its lowest point – Sandy Haven crossing, near Milford Haven – it is just 6 feet (2 m) above low water. Whilst most of the coastline faces west, it offers – at varying points – coastal views in every direction of the compass.
The southern end of the path is at Amroth, Pembrokeshire. The northern end is often regarded as being at Poppit Sands, near St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, where the official plaque was originally sited but the path now continues to St. Dogmaels, where a new marker was unveiled in July 2009. Here the path links with the Ceredigion Coast Path, which continues northwards.The Pembrokeshire Coast Path forms part of the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales from Chepstow to Queensferry, which was officially opened in 2012.Penarth Head
Penarth Head is a jutting headland in Penarth on the south coast of South Wales near the Welsh capital city of Cardiff.
St Augustine's Church sits on the highest point of the Head and has been used as a landmark to aid navigation for seafarers for centuries. When the medieval church was replaced in the 1860s, Bristol Channel pilots demanded the new church had a tall tower. William Butterfield's new church was built with a 90-foot tower.The Cardiff Bay Barrage lies across the mouth of Cardiff Bay, between Queen Alexandra Dock in Cardiff docks and Penarth Head. Watercolour artist Thomas Frederick Worrall, who lived in Barry from 1913, painted several scenes of the Head from a viewpoint at Lower Penarth. Two depictions showing the Penarth Pier with Tiger Bay in the background have been deposited at the National Library of Wales.
In 2015 a viewing platform was built in Penarth Head Park, which lies on the edge of the Head at the end of Penarth Head Lane. The park, with views to Penarth Pier and across to Flat Holm, was to have interpretation boards, as well as a mosaic in the shape of the Wales Coast Path logo. At 200 feet above sea level, the park is the highest point on the entire route of the Wales Coast Path.Scottish Coastal Way
The Scottish Coastal Way is a proposed national long-distance trail that goes around the coastline of mainland Scotland. The idea was first proposed by walkers, and in November 2009 Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) hosted a conference on the subject. In 2010 SNH estimated that around 2,700 km of coastal paths and routes were existence, compared to a total coastline length of 10,192 km. The existing coastal paths were predominantly in the more populous parts of the country, and few coastal paths exist in more remote areas such as Highlands and Islands. It was recognised that a coastal route, along the lines of the Wales Coast Path, would have many positives, but that development of a fully waymarked route would conflict with conservation aims such as the preservation of the "wild land" qualities of much of the Scottish coast.
The right to responsible access to land allows people to access all of Scotland's coastline, and so there is no bar to a person wishing to walk the length of the coastline. Existing coastal paths are listed below. There is a long-term aspiration to link these routes up to develop a full Scottish Coastal Way by 2030.South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary Coastal Path
The South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary Coastal Path covers Region H of the larger Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales which opened on 5 May 2012. The South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary stretch is a 109-mile (176 km) in length running from Kenfig Dunes near Port Talbot, South Wales to Chepstow. With five local councils involved in its creation and maintenance, the route goes through a heritage coast, three national nature reserves and three heritage landscapes.St Gwenfaen's Well
St Gwenfaen's Well (also known as Welsh: Ffynnon Gwenfaen, Welsh: Ffynnon Wenfaen and Welsh: Ffynnon Gwenfai) is an early medieval holy well in the south west of Holy Island, Anglesey, named after St Gwenfaen, whose cloister was nearby. The site includes substantial remains of a building and is both a scheduled monument and a Grade II listed building. Traditionally, a gift of two white quartz pebbles thrown into the pool can cure mental health problems.Tresaith
Tresaith (otherwise Tre-saith) is a coastal village in Ceredigion, Wales, between Aberporth and Llangranog. It is linked to the former by a two-mile section of the Ceredigion Coast Path, part of the Wales Coast Path. Tresaith is within the Ceredigion Heritage Coast which offers extensive walking and views. There is an abundance of wildlife and flora. Many kinds of seabirds can be spotted and regular sightings of grey seals and dolphins are made.
Coastal paths of Great Britain
(England and Wales)
|Scotland's Great Trails|