Wales Coast Path Joins IAT

In December 2012, the new Wales Coast Path joined the International Appalachian Trail as a 870 mile (1,400 km) trek around the entire coast of Wales, from Chester in the north to Chepstow in the south.   

 

The path was developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with the Countryside Council for Wales, sixteen local authorities and two National Parks, and opened on May 5, 2012.  In addition to funding from the Welsh Government and the coastal local authorities, the European Regional Development Fund  has allocated funds over four years in support of the project.

 

 

Not surprisingly, the landscapes and scenic vistas along the path are as abundant and varied as the stakeholders participating in its development.  Beginning in north, the North Wales Coast is a mixture of wonderful sandy beaches and family friendly towns and villages. There’s some 60 miles of sea views from the North Wales Path, and at Prestatyn, the Wales Coast Path joins Offa’s Dyke Path, Britain’s longest ancient monument and a National Trail. 

 

Gronant Dunes near Prestatyn

Of special note along the northern WCP is the important wetland of the Dee Estuary and the famous castle and walled town of Conwy, constructed by the English monarch Edward I in the 13th century, and now a World Heritage Site.

Conwy Castle

The Isle of Anglesey contains picturesque beaches and world class geology,

Sea Cliffs and Lighthouse at Holyhead

and is linked to the mainland by Menai Suspension Bridge, the first modern suspension bridge in the world, built in 1826 by Thomas Telford.

Menai Suspension Bridge spanning the Isle of Anglesey and the Wales mainland

With Snowdonia National Park providing a mighty natural backdrop, it is easy to understand why the region of Menai, Llŷn & Meirionnydd is so loved.  Along this under-explored wonderland you will find small fishing villages, estuaries, and miles of sandy beaches.  

 

Harlech Beach with Snowdonia in background

The path at Cardigan Bay, County Ceredigion affords walkers with glimpses of marine mammals and seabirds, and offers a diversity that includes the dunes at Ynyslas, high sea cliffs, storm beaches, sandy bays and sea caves. Four sections are designated as Heritage Coast while two areas of the bay are Marine Special Areas of Conservation because of their importance for wildlife.

 

Llangrannog Beach, Cardigan Bay

The Pembrokeshire coast is home to the iconic and world-class landscape of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and wildlife rich islands. The Path (which has National Trail status here) passes through some of Britain’s most spectacular and breathtaking scenery, including 58 beaches and 14 harbours and the UK’s smallest city - St Davids.

 

Strumble Head & Lighthouse

Carmarthen Bay is a coastline of great contrasts and takes in a range of habitats including fresh water marshes, salt marshes, sand dunes, pine forests and coastal commons all supporting a spectacular array of flora and fauna. Set within the bay is Pembrey Country Park – 500 acres of landscaped woods and parkland leading down to the little harbour of Burry Port.

 

Llansteffan Castle overlooking Carmarthen Bay near the village of Llansteffan

The Gower & Swansea Bay stretch of the path is an area of contrasts - from the busy seaside city of Swansea to the stunning coastline of the Gower Peninsula, with its award winning golden beaches. The area is home to 10 nature reserves, 24 Wildlife Trust reserves, 32 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and five Special Areas of Conservation.

 

View to Worm's Head, Rhossili

The South Wales Coast & Severn Estuary takes in city landscapes (including the Wales capital, Cardiff), village life, and magnificent views of the Severn Estuary.  The estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world at 49 feet, and is home to the Severn Bore. 

Mermaid Quay and Pierhead Building, with Millenium Centre in background - Cardiff

 

Severn Tidal Bore

 

To learn more about the Wales Coast Path, visit their website

.... or grab your pack and head to the coast!  There's no need to be bored!!!!