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.
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,
the village of Monmouth,
Hay-on-Wye (Town of Books),
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!