Celebrations took place across Wales at the weekend to mark the official opening of the Wales Coast Path.
Visitors to the Path can now enjoy over 870 miles of stunning Welsh coastal scenery, passing through long golden beaches, nature reserves, large cities and places of industrial heritage along the way.
The Wales Coast Path is the first of its kind in the World, and is a continuous route which runs from the Welsh border, in the North, to Chepstow, in the South. Linking up the Path with Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail creates a full circular route of the country, making it possible to walk all 1027 miles around Wales!
Plans to progress this project were announced by the Welsh Government back in 2006. Since then, work has been underway across many areas of Wales to improve accessibility and join up areas of coastline between existing coastal paths including Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path.
Morgan Parry, Countryside Council for Wales Chairman said: “There is real excitement that the Wales Coast Path is going to provide a valuable boost to the economy of coastal areas, attracting visitors as well as local people to enjoy this unique resource that we will have created. It's important that everyone gets behind the initiative so that Wales can realise its huge potential.
“In terms of public health, it is more important than ever that we create the best possible opportunities for people to enjoy walking and all the benefits of being active outdoors. Creating access for everyone is an important aspect of this project – some sections of path will be suitable for people with disabilities, families with prams/buggies, those on horse back and cyclists,” added Morgan Parry.
The Wales Coast Path has the benefit of being completely free to access, and boasts many diverse stretches of landscape that can be enjoyed with the whole family. There are also a number of different activities that are on offer along the way – from surfing in the Gower, to exploring the Wetland of International Importance on the Dee Estuary or dolphin watching in Cardigan Bay.
The Wales Coast Path has been developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), sixteen local authorities and two National Parks.
In addition to funding from the Welsh Government and the coastal local authorities of approximately £2 million per year, the European Regional Development Fund has allocated nearly £4 million over four years to support the project.