Wales is the first country in the world to have a walking and/or cycling route around the entire length of its coastline and the Wales Coat Path offers a wonderful way to explore the landscape, history and wildlife of this small but spectacular nation.
Plans to establish the Wales Coast Path were announced first in 2006. Its subsequent creation was funded by the Welsh Government and 18 local authorities, who jointly contributed £2 million pounds per year and was further supported by a grant of £4 million from the European Union. The successfully completed Path was officially opened on 5th May 2012 and during that first year, almost 2.9 million people were counted using the path.
Along its way the Wales Coast Path travels through two National Parks, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, eleven National Nature Reserves and numerous Sites of Specific Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserves. There are places where it has not been possible to provide safe access along the true coastline and the current route occasionally deviates inland, but that does not in any way detract from its interest. Approximately 21% of the Wales Coast Path is along roads, but in this respect the Path is still a work in progress and where possible, access along the edges of adjacent fields is under negotiation.
The route now links the already well-established coastal paths of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Anglesey with some of the less well known parts if the Welsh Coast. In North and South Wales, where much of the coast is dominated by towns and cities, quiet areas have been sought through which to route the path in busier areas in an effort to avoid too much walking along roads.
There is an official government website for the Wales Coastal Path which is full of information regarding how to get to Wales, accommodation, help with planning your route, public transport, safety advice etc. and there are also free downloadable printable maps of specific sections of the route, an official app, ordnance survey maps & leaflets.
There are a good number of guide books to the Wales Coast Path, some cover specific areas such as:
Walking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path (English)
Author: Carl Rogers. Publisher: Mara Books (2013). ISBN 978-1-902512-15-0
Llŷn Peninsula: Bangor to Porthmadog (English) Author: Carl Rogers & Tony Bowerman. Publisher: Northern Eye Books (April 2014) ISBN 978-1-908632-24-1
Ceredigion Coast Path : From the Teifi to the Dyfi (Bilingual)
Cardigan – Ynys-las. Author: Gerald Morgan. Publisher: Ceredigion County Council (2010). ISBN 0-9534383-3-3
Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail (English)
St Dogmaels – Amroth. Author: Brian John. Publisher: Aurum Press (2012). ISBN 9-7818451378-2-3
Others are more general and cover the whole route from Chester in the north to Chepstow in the south. One I use myself is:
The Wales Coast Path – A Practical Guide for Walkers. Authors: Christopher Goddard & Katharine Evans. Publisher:St David’s Press (2014).ISBN 978-1-902719-35-1