Wales is a country blessed with a beautiful Coast and stunning scenery. The Wales Coast Path will ensure improved access to the coastline and encourage people to live a healthier and more active lifestyle.
By Spring 2012, Wales Coastal Path will be developed by creating a continuous 861 mile path that runs right around its coastline, enabling visitors and residents alike to ‘discover the shape of the nation’.
In the North East, on the border between Wales & England, the path sets off near Offa’s Dyke, near the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish Sea. This historic Dyke is named after the 8th century King Offa, who ordered the Dyke be built to separate his kingdom of Mercia from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales. This 177 mile path, forming one of Wales’ 3 National trails runs along the Anglo-Wales borderlands. With the development of the coastal path, this will enable you to walk around the whole of Wales.
This historical journey continues as the path winds through nearby Conwy with its impressive 13th Century castle built by Edward I to try and suppress Welsh uprisings. The coastal path passes a number of other medieval castles along its way such as Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Criccieth and Harlech, in the North, Aberystwyth in mid Wales and Cardiff and Caldicot in the South. It passes by ancient churches such as St Hywyn’s in Aberdaron on the Lleyn Peninsula, where since medieval times, pilgrims have come on their way to Bardsey Island, the legendary Isle of 20,000 saints.
All along the coastal path there is breathtaking scenery, places such as Anglesey in the North and Pembrokeshire in the South are especially beautiful. In West Wales, a half mile section of the path recently opened joins the Ceredigion Coast Path with the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail creating a 250 mile unbroken path. Last year, National Geographic voted Pembrokeshire ‘one of the best coastal destinations in the world, a wonderful part of Wales that must be seen and explored’. There are a huge variety of beaches along the way, ranging from expansive stretches of sand to tiny sheltered coves.
The wildlife that can be seen while exploring Wales’ coastal path is rich and diverse. Exploration of the coastline along the path reveals bays, headlands, towering cliffs and inlets, all provide stunning views of nesting seabirds, guillemots, razorbills, puffins and shearwaters. Out to sea off the Ceredigion coast in Cardigan Bay, bottlenose dolphins and porpoises can be seen playing in the surf and its sheltered inlets and coves harbour Atlantic grey seals basking on the beach or bobbing up and down in the sea.
Wales is famous for its seaside resorts; amongst others, the path passes through Tenby in the South West, a town steeped in history, renowned as being one of the UK’s finest holiday resorts and in the North, Llandudno, Wales’ largest resort, a town that has kept its Victorian and Edwardian splendour and boasts two wonderful beaches.
Situated along the coastal path are some of Wales’ finest Inn’s such as the Ty Coch Inn nestled in the tiny fishing village of Porthdinllaen on the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula, with a sandy beach on its doorstep, boasting a fine selection of food and ales.
The number of walkers along the coast is increasing continually , but the path also the benefit of being suitable for cyclists and horseriding on large stretches and also improves disabled access along its length, the path is a major asset that is helping to sustain and regenerate the economy of coastal Wales. Find out more at www.walking.visitwales.com/long-distance/national-trails/#wales_coast