Wales Coast Path – frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the more commonly asked questions, and answers, about the Wales Coast Path.

Just click on the question to see the answer.

For other questions, please use the contact form and we’ll try to help.

What is the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-26T08:43:01+01:00

The Wales Coast Path is an unbroken, well-maintained, signposted and waymarked trail around the entire coast of Wales.

It runs for 870 miles/1440 km from the walled city of Chester on the River Dee in the north, to the pretty market town of Chepstow, on the Severn Estuary, in the south.

Where is the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-25T18:43:16+01:00

The Wales Coast Path traces the whole seaboard of Wales, in the United Kingdom. Wales is the old Celtic heartland of mainland Britain.

How long is the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-26T08:45:21+01:00

The 870 mile/1400 kilometre route covers the whole of the Welsh seaboard and is the longest and probably the best of all Britain’s long-distance challenges.

The Wales Coast Path starts and finishes close to the ends of the historic 180 mile/285 kilometre Offa’s Dyke National Trail. This means keen walkers can make a complete circumnavigation of Wales; a total distance of around 1,050 miles/1,690 kilometres.

Ever keen for a new challenge, a few hardy walkers had already completed the full circuit within months of the Wales Coast Path’s opening.

How long does it take to walk the Wales Coast Path?2018-06-21T09:39:47+01:00

Only the fittest, most determined walkers can hope to complete the entire Wales Coast Path in 6-7 weeks, averaging 20 or so miles a day.

At a more leisurely pace — allowing time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the views, and with regular pauses to watch the wildlife, swim, enjoy a quiet drink or visit some of the fascinating places along the way — you should allow around 3 months for the whole trip.

Which direction should I walk the Wales Coast Path?2018-06-21T09:41:16+01:00

Most walkers and the majority of guidebooks choose to walk from North to South. That is, they start at Chester and walk west towards Anglesey and the Llyn before heading south down Cardigan Bay, around Pembrokeshire and the Gower peninsula, and then east along the South Wales Coast the coast to finish at Chepstow.

Benefits include having the sun on your face for much of the way and some of the best views ahead.

But of course, the path can be walked equally well in either direction.

The choice is yours.

Is the Wales Coast Path well signposted?2017-04-26T08:48:18+01:00

Yes, the Wales Coast Path is clearly signed and waymarked with its own distinctive logo: a white dragon-tailed seashell on a blue ground surrounded by a yellow circlet bearing the words ‘Llwybr Arfordir Cymru – Wales Coast Path’.

Look for the wood or metal fingerposts at main access points, in towns, on roadsides and lanes, and at key junctions. Some show the distance to the next destination, too.

Elsewhere, the route is clearly waymarked with plastic roundels fixed to stiles, gateposts, fences and walls. In many places the Wales Coast Path waymarkers sit alongside others for already established routes — such as the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path or the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail. In some areas these local waymarkers are still more in evidence than the official Wales Coast Path ones; and on some stretches, waymarking is still patchy.

Generally, however, if you keep an eye out for the distinctive Wales Coast Path signs and waymarkers, and the sea on your right (if you’re walking from north to south), and you shouldn’t stray far from the route.

What makes the Wales Coast Path special?2017-04-26T08:49:39+01:00

Whether you choose to walk the whole Path in one go, in occasional sections, or a few miles at a time, you’re in for a real treat.

There’s something new around every corner, and you’ll discover places that can only be reached on foot. Visually stunning and rich in both history and wildlife, the path promises ever-changing views, soaring cliffs and spacious beaches, sea caves and arches, wildflowers, seabirds, seals and dolphins, as well as castles, cromlechs, coves and coastal pubs.

It’s a genuinely special landscape.

What’s the best time of year to walk the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-26T08:50:08+01:00

Britain’s main walking season runs from Easter to the end of September. Although the Wales Coast Path is delightful throughout the year, the best walking weather tends to be in late spring as well as early and late summer.

Although the Easter holiday is busy, spring is otherwise a quiet time of year. The days are lengthening and the weather getting steadily warmer. Migrant birds and basking sharks are returning to Wales from farther south. The weather is also likely to be dry.

Early summer is ideal for walking. May and June enjoy the greatest number of sunshine hours per day (the average for May is 225 hours, and for June 210 hours) and the lowest rainfall of the year (average for May is 50mm, June is 51mm). You’ll also have the accompaniment of a spectacular array of spring flowers and the chance to see breeding sea birds at their best.

High summer is the busiest season, particularly during the school holidays in July and August. Both the beaches and the Coast Path are likely to be packed in places. Finding somewhere to stay at short notice can be tricky, too — so it’s best to book well in advance. However, the long sunny days are certainly attractive, and you can often walk in shorts and a T-shirt.

By September most visitors have returned home, and you’ll have the Coast Path largely to yourself. The weather remains good and the sea is still warm enough for swimming. Sunny days often stretch into September, with the first of the winter storms arriving in late September and October. Autumn also means the coastal trees and bracken are slowly turning from green to red, orange and gold.

Winter brings shorter, colder days with less sunlight and other disadvantages: unpredictable weather, stormy seas, high winds and even gales along with closed cafés and accommodation. But for experienced walkers, the cooler days can bring peace and solitude and a heightened sense of adventure.

What about the Welsh weather?2017-04-26T08:50:23+01:00

Like the rest of Britain, Wales is warmed by the Gulf Stream’s ocean current and enjoys a temperate climate. This is particularly true of the country’s west coast.

Because Wales lies in the west of Britain, the weather is generally mild but damp. Low pressure fronts typically come in off the Irish Sea from the west and southwest, hitting the coast first and then moving inland to the east. This means rain and wet weather can occur at any time of year, so you should always take good waterproofs and spare clothes with you.

For more weather or a five-day forecast, visit www.metoffice.com or www.bbc.co.uk/weather.

Several premium-rate national ‘Weatherlines’ give up-to-date forecasts, and the Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Parks websites provide local information, too.

Can I cycle on the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-26T08:50:37+01:00

No, cycling is not legally allowed on public footpaths. Plus the number of kissing gates and stiles on the path make it impractical for bikes. However, there are plenty of sections of bridleway – where cycling is allowed – as well as dedicated cycleways on many parts of the path or closeby.

Who manages the Wales Coast Path?2017-04-26T15:13:49+01:00

The Wales Coast Path is co-ordinated at a national level by Natural Resources Wales and managed on the ground by the sixteen local authorities and two National Parks through which it passes.

Funding has come from the Welsh Government, the European Regional Development Fund and the local authorities themselves.

For more details, see: http://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Is the Wales Coast Path suitable for children?2017-04-26T15:15:23+01:00

Yes, many parts of the Path are suitable for children. But remember that the further away you get from towns and car parks, the tougher the terrain may be. Turn back if the path becomes unsuitable for the youngest or least able in your party. And keep children well away from cliff edges and deep water.

What is your refund policy?2017-04-26T08:51:13+01:00

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