- 1 – From the 5th May 2012, Wales now has a continuous path along it’s coast, spanning some 870 miles.
- 2 – The path also links up with the Offa’s Dyke path (a long distance route along the border of Wales and England).
- 3 – Linking these two routes together forms a continuous walking route around the whole of Wales (some 1050 miles!).
(There are many more corporate key messages I could offer, but I think the above will suffice).
I mentioned these amazing facts to someone the other day, thinking that they would also see them as equally astonishing. Instead I had their blank face just staring back at me with a faintly disinterested (but slightly polite) look of “that’s nice”.
Not the reaction I was expecting…
Having considered their response (or lack of) I pondered what “Joe Public” would make of this massive feat, but more importantly what it actually meansto them.
What do I mean by Joe Public? Well someone one who doesn’t have any connections with the path in any way, shape or form – or someone who has no/very little interest in biodiversity, conservation or the great outdoors.
Imagine, we can now walk right around the entire country – whether you would actually do this or not is up to you, but at least you have the choice.
Incidentally, one woman has already actually run her way around Wales for charity (yes, run!). Visit the Dragon Run website for details on Arry Beresford Webb’s amazing journey around our beautiful nation.
From the beginning to the end (but not as we know it)
I’ve been working on the administration side of the Wales Coast Path project for 4 years. Within this time, I have slowly come to appreciate the enormity, and of course the excitement, of the project for CCW – but also for Wales as a whole.
The initial concept that imagined a coastal path around the circumference of Wales was born in 2006, with financial support coming from the Welsh Government, Europe and the coastal local authorities. However, just because it has now officially opened, it certainly does not mean that everything is done and dusted. Rather this is only the beginning! Further funding for 2012-2013 has been secured for additional works and future plans.
After six years in creation, the Wales Coast Path was officially opened on 5th May 2012 at three locations across the country:
- Flint Castle [North Wales]
- Aberystwyth Promenade [Mid-Wales]
- Cardiff Bay [South Wales]
It’s only a path, right?
Another small fact. Just because I work for an environmental organisation doesn’t necessarily mean I am automatically interested in these sorts of things, while I nevertheless enjoy learning about our stunning and varied country.
But the Wales Coast Path has got me thinking – what does it actually mean to me?
Well, I think it means many things – depending on what I want from it. One day it means I’ve a place where I can be invigorated (or exhausted!) while on another it’s a very special place that provides me with peace and tranquillity - a place that’s right on my doorstep, and I can visit easily.
The sign posts detailing the Wales Coast Path as it meanders through the country can help you decide which route will suit your needs, desires and expectations.
The North Wales Coast and Dee Estuary offer leisurely walks along sandy beaches with stunning views, while the likes of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire offer excitement and challenges along some very rugged terrain. In the South, Carmarthenshire has it’s very own culture, with contrasting areas of scenery and fascinating industrial heritage.
What does the Wales Coast Path mean to you?
- Somewhere to meet up and socialise?
- An outdoor gym to get fit?
- A simple free day out for the family?
- Somewhere to go to clear the cobwebs of everyday life?
- Somewhere where you can show off your “backyard” to your visitors?
- Somewhere where you can teach or learn about coastal flora and fauna?
- A physical and mental challenge perhaps?
- Simply some ambling “me” time?
However you view the Wales Coast Path, everyone will likely take something away that’s right for them. Remember you don’t have to appreciate the economic benefits for Wales, or the flora and fauna along the 870- mile stretch, or the activities on offer – or even the fact that you’ll get fit just by walking some of the way!
Just enjoy it for whatever it means to you.
All you need to know is that it’s there, ready and waiting for you to explore and discover – whether it be today, tomorrow or in the future. It’s your path.
The Official Website for the Wales Coast Path
This link will give you information on the different sections that you can enjoy along the Path as well useful information about public transport and accommodation along the way.
The website for Arry Beresford Webb’s amazing run around Wales
This link details her journey along the Wales Coast Path and Offa’s Dyke in aid of her two charities.