On October 7, 2010 during the Adventure Travel World Summit in Aviemore, Scotland, the International Appalachian Trail welcomed nine new European chapters to the IAT, including Wales. Other new chapters were Ireland, England, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
IAT Europe Meeting at Aviemore, Scotland, October 2010
The official welcome came 16 months after the first IAT delegation traveled to Wales in June 2009, and attended meetings with officials from Anglesey Council and GeoMôn Geopark, Fforest Fawr Geopark, Snowdonia National Park, Brecon Beacon National Park, and the Wales Association of Bunkhouse Operators. The tour was planned and hosted by the British Geological Survey (BGS).
(Left to right) Adrian Humpage, BGS, Kevin Noseworthy, IAT, Jerry Davis, BGS. and Paul Wylezol, IAT
The visit to Wales ended with a meeting and hike with Dave MacLachlan, National Trail Officer of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which in October 2010 became the first trail section of IAT Wales.
(L-R) Paul Wylezol, IAT, Dave MacLachan, PCP, Adrian Humpage, BGS, and Kevin Noseworthy, IAT
Wales Coast Path
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!!!!


Offa's Dyke National Trail

In February 2013, the UK's Offa's Dyke Path National Trail joined the IAT, bringing with it Britain's longest ancient monument while creating a 1,047 mile (1,675 km) IAT Wales loop with the Wales Coast Path. The 177 mile (285 km) long, 1200 year old linear bank and ditch passes through no less than eight different counties and crosses the England/Wales border 20 times. It explores the tranquil Marches (as the border region is known) and passes through Brecon Beacons National Park on the spectacular Hatterall Ridge. In addition, it links no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Hills.


Brecon Beacons National Park


The Path was opened in the summer of 1971, linking Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish Sea. It is named after, and often follows, the spectacular Dyke which King Offa ordered to be constructed in the 8th century, probably to divide his Kingdom of Mercia from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales.



Although people have been rumoured to complete the Path in four days, more typically two weeks are about right for the whole journey. Of course many people choose to complete only short sections in day trips or to complete the whole Path over many weeks, months or years! There are regular places to stay, eat, and drink along the way, and public transport is available to key points.



The Dyke itself consists of an earthen bank which can be up to 25 feet high, associated with a ditch to the west, and often occupies what seems like a deliberately imposing position in the landscape, typically presenting fine and commanding views into Wales. It is not known exactly what the Dyke looked like when first built, but archaeological excavation suggests the western side of the bank was revetted with turf to create a near vertical face, and it is possible that some kind of palisade or wall also existed on top of the earthwork.



Offa's Dyke is the most dramatic built structure to survive from Anglo-Saxon times, and as such is an important reminder of a key phase in British history which has left relatively few substantial visible remains. Indeed, not only was the Dyke without equal in its own era, no constructional undertaking of similar landscape scale was to be built in Britain for another 1000 years until the great canal schemes of the 18th century.


Intact section of Offa's Dyke


The "Offa" of Offa’s Dyke was King of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia from 757-796. Mercia, centred on what is today the English Midlands, was one of a number of independent kingdoms which had emerged in the mid/later first millennium AD from the gradual extension of Anglo-Saxon political control over much of former Roman Britain.


King Offa on horseback


Offa established, through military campaigns and political alliance, Mercian control over much of what we now call England and indeed saw fit to describe himself as "Rex Anglorum" ("King of the English"). Although very little direct historical documentation relating to Offa has survived, we can still glimpse a powerful leader and astute politician who was treated as an equal by Charlemagne, the greatest European ruler of the age.



When Offa's Dyke was completed in 796, it delineated the western boundary of the Kingdom of Mercia. Today the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail follows much of that boundary - and the modern border between England and Wales - on its 177 mile (285 km) north/south journey from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel. The landscape is mostly rural and includes mountains, hill pasture, river valleys, and lowland fields. 31% is within three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 9% is within Brecon Beacons National Park, and two-thirds is within Wales.


Designated areas along the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail


In addition to the Dyke, highlights include Chepstow Castle,



the Wye Valley,



Tintern Abbey,



the village of Monmouth,



Hay-on-Wye (Town of Books),



Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct,



and Moel Famau and Jubilee Tower.



To walk the 177 mile (285 km) Offa's Dyke Path National Trail is to explore both spectacular landscapes and the history of the Anglo-Welsh border. To learn more, visit their website .... and take a long walk along a narrow dyke!




Wales is a generally mountainous country on the western side of central southern Great Britain. It is about 274 km (170 mi) north–south and 97 km (60 mi) east–west, and is approximately 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi).Wales is bordered by England to the east, and by sea in all other directions: the Irish Sea (Môr Iwerddon) to the north and west, St. George's Channel (Sianel San Siôr) and the Celtic Sea (Y Môr Celtaidd) to the southwest, and the Bristol Channel (Môr Hafren) to the south.Altogether Wales has over 1,180 km (733 mi) of coastline and over 50 islands, the largest being Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in the northwest.
Much of Wales' diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the Devensian glaciation. The highest are in Snowdonia (Eryri), with five are over 1,000 m (3,281 ft). The highest of these is Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) at 1,085 m (3,560 ft).The Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) are in the south and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales, the latter name being given to the earliest geological period of the Paleozoic era, the Cambrian.
In evolutionary studies the Cambrian is the period when most major groups of complex animals appeared (i.e. the "Cambrian Explosion"). The older rocks in Wales underlying the Cambrian lacked fossils which could be used to differentiate their various groups, and were referred to as Pre-Cambrian.
In the mid-nineteenth century, two prominent geologists, Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick used their studies of the geology of Wales to establish certain principles of stratigraphy and palaeontology. After much dispute, the next two periods of the Paleozoic era, the Ordovician and Silurian, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area.
Tectonics of Avalonia
Avalonia was an ancient microcontinent or terrane whose history formed much of the older rocks of Western Europe. The name is derived from the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland. Wales was entirely contained within the Avalonian block, and shares its tectonic chronology.
In the early Cambrian, the supercontinent Pannotia broke up and Avalonia drifted off northwards from Gondwana. This independent movement of Avalonia started from a latitude of about 60° South. The eastern end of Avalonia collided with Baltica, a continental plate occupying the latitudes from about 30°S to 55°S, as the latter slowly rotated anti-clockwise towards it. This happened at the end of the Ordovician and during the early Silurian.
In the late Silurian and lower Devonian, the combined Baltica and Avalonia collided progressively, with Laurentia, beginning with the long extremity of Avalonia which is now attached to America. The result of this was the formation of Euramerica. At the completion of this stage, the site of Britain was at 30°S and Nova Scotia at about 45°S. This collision is represented by the Caledonian folding or in North America as an early phase in the Acadian orogeny.
In the Permian, the new continent and another terrane, Armorica which included Iberia, drifted in from Gondwana, trapping Avalonia between it and the continent so adding Iberia/Armorica to Euramerica. This was followed up by the arrival of Gondwana. The effects of these collisions are seen in Europe as the Variscan folding. In North America it shows as later phases of the Acadian orogeny. This was happening at around the Equator during the later Carboniferous, forming Pangaea in such a way that Avalonia was near its centre but partially flooded by shallow sea.
In the Jurassic, Pangaea split into Laurasia and Gondwana, with Avalonia as part of Laurasia. In the Cretaceous, Laurasia broke up into North America and Eurasia with Avalonia split between them.

Websites:  Wales Coast Path and National Trails