HALF MOON BAY, Calif., May 10, 2012—Officially opened on May 5, the Wales Coast Path makes Wales the first country in the world to have a formal hiking trail the entire way around its coast. For those who need more hiking mileage than the Wales Coast Path’s 870 miles, the trail connects with Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail, adding up to a total of 1,030 miles of walking opportunities around the Welsh border.
The Wales Coast Path was developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with the Countryside Council for Wales, 16 local authorities, and two National Parks. The economic success of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path influenced the idea for a trail that covered the entire Welsh coast.
While the path is important for the Welsh economy, it’s also seen as an important initiative in encouraging both locals and visitors to enjoy Wales’ outdoor spaces. The path is accessible to walkers and some sections are available for cyclists, wheelchairs, strollers, and horseback riders.
The Coast Path runs from the mouth of the River Dee, along the north Wales coast, over the Menai Strait and onto the Isle of Anglesey. From there, it travels down the Llyn Peninsula, through Britain’s only coastal National Park in Pembrokeshire, along miles of the Gower Peninsula’s golden sand, to the waterfront of Cardiff, and finally to the market town of Chepstow.
Offa’s Dyke Path crosses Wales from north to south. It loosely follows the line of King Offa of Mercia’s original ditch, as well as the line of the official border between Wales and England. Beginning at the seaside town of Prestatyn, the trail ascends the Clwydian Range, runs along the grassy ridges of Shropshire to the town of Hay-on-Wye. It then tracks to cross the ridges of the Black Mountains before easing down to Monmouth and through the wooded valley of the tidal Wye to end at Sedbury Cliff.
Last week, I walked along parts of the Wales Coast Path while in North Wales for the official opening of the path. While parts of the trail are along beautiful open space, there’s a town or city within reach in order to grab a meal or find a place to stay if hikers prefer a multi-day trek.
For more information, and to plan your ideal trip along the Wales Coast Path, visit www.walescoastpath.gov.uk.
Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill is an avid kayaker and owner of Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.
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