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The Wales Coast Path

AuthorPaddy Dillon
PublisherCicerone Press
ISBNISBN-13: 978 1 85284 742 5
Also available in eBook and Kindle formats
Price£14.95
A rugged stretch of coast on Holy Island, near Trearddur Bay

A rugged stretch of coast on Holy Island, near Trearddur Bay

The Pembrokeshire coast, looking from Newgale towards Ramsey Island

The Pembrokeshire coast, looking from Newgale towards Ramsey Island

Lighthouse on Nash Point in South Wales

Lighthouse on Nash Point in South Wales

Walkers were invited to to ‘discover the shape of a nation’ when the Wales Coast Path was launched in May 2012. The entire coastal path is signposted and waymarked with distinctive ‘dragonshell’ logos. Most of the early trailblazers weren’t content with the 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) coastline, choosing to continue along the Offa’s Dyke Path to make a complete circumnavigation of Wales, covering 1,690 kilometres (1,050 miles). One woman even walked the whole way with a donkey in 2013!

A walk along the Wales Coast Path offers a splendid romp through history. Iron Age hill forts and promontory forts come thick and fast, and some are slowly crumbling into the sea. Edward I built his strategic 'Ring of Iron' castles around North Wales in the 13th century, while striving to subdue revolt and rebellion. From the 19th century, something akin to a 'Ring of Ironworks' developed as industry burgeoned in South Wales. Railways threaded through the countryside to convey materials more efficiently, and workers were quick to use evolving passenger services to visit the coast for day trips and holidays, resulting in the creatio of seaside resorts. People who wanted to walk soon found their way off the promenades and onto the coastal paths, and now the entire coast can be walked from Chester to Chepstow.

Most walkers would expect to take two months to complete a trail of this length, and this is no glorified beach walk. There’s a huge amount of variety, with rugged cliffs, rocky coves and long, sandy beaches contrasting markedly with gaudy resorts, hulking steelworks and the petro-chemical pong of oil refineries. The Snowdonia National Park reaches the coast, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is truly remarkable. Other fine stretches of coast lie in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including Anglesey, Llŷn and the Gower. Over a dozen stretches of Heritage Coast have been designated, and there are also plenty of nature reserves. Some redeveloped docklands have scrubbed-up amazingly well and often incorporate green spaces.

There is plenty of accommodation, ranging from basic campsites to posh hotels, but it is unevenly spread. Public transport is often available, though services are sparse on Sundays. Food doesn't need to be carried any great distance and there are only a couple of days where a shop, pub or beach cafe doesn't appear conveniently around lunch-time. In fact, all you really need is to be aware of what useful services lie ahead, and simply walk towards them. Those who can't spare the time for an eight-week epic trek could walk a week or two here and there, gradually covering the entire coast.

GPX tracks are available for all the routes in this guidebook. They can be downloaded from the Cicerone website.

Walk Contents

North Wales

Day 1 Chester to Flint
Day 2 Flint to Prestatyn
Day 3 Prestatyn to Colwyn Bay
Day 4 Colwyn Bay to Conwy
Day 5 Conwy to Bangor

Isle of Anglesey

Day 6 Bangor to Glan-yr-afon
Day 7 Glan-yr-afon to City Dulas
Day 8 City Dulas to Cemaes
Day 9 Cemaes to Llanfachraeth
Day 10 Llanfachraeth to South Stack
Day 11 South Stack to Fourmilebridge
Day 12 Fourmilebridge to Aberffraw
Day 13 Aberffraw to Dwyran
Day 14 Dwyran to Menai Bridge

Llýn Peninsula

Day 15 Menai Bridge to Dinas Dinlle
Day 16 Dinas Dinlle to Nefyn
Day 17 Nefyn to Methlem
Day 18 Methlem to Rhiw
Day 19 Rhiw to Abersoch
Day 20 Abersoch to Llanystumdwy
Day 21 Llanystumdwy to Penrhyndeudraeth

Meirionydd

Day 22 Penrhyndeudraeth to Harlech
Day 23 Harlech to Barmouth
Day 24 Barmouth to Tywyn
Day 25 Tywyn to Machynlleth

Ceredigion

Day 26 Machynlleth to Borth
Day 27 Borth to Llanrhystud
Day 28 Llanrhystud to New Quay
Day 29 New Quay to Aberporth
Day 30 Aberporth to St Dogmaels

Pembrokeshire

Day 31 St Dogmaels to Newport
Day 32 Newport to Goodwick
Day 33 Goodwick to Abercastle
Day 34 Abercastle to St Justinian
Day 35 St Justinian to Newgale
Day 36 Newgale to Martin's Haven
Day 37 Martin's Haven to Sandy Haven
Day 38 Sandy Haven to Pembroke
Day 39 Pembroke to Freshwater West
Day 40 Freshwater West to Freshwater East
Day 41 Freshwater East to Saundersfoot

Carmarthenshire

Day 42 Saundersfoot to Laugharne
Day 43 Laugharne to Llansteffan
Day 44 Llansteffan to Ferryside
Day 45 Ferryside to Burry Port

The Gower

Day 46 Burry Port to Pen-clawdd
Day 47 Pen-clawdd to Rhossili
Day 48 Rhossili to Penmaen
Day 49 Penmaen to Swansea

South Wales

Day 50 Swansea to Margam
Day 51 Margan to Ogmore
Day 52 Ogmore to Limpert Bay
Day 53 Limpert Bay to Cadoxton
Day 54 Cadoxton to Pengam Green
Day 55 Pengam Green to Newport
Day 56 Newport to Rogiet
Day 57 Rogiet to Chepstow