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Wales Coast Path

Hi:
Has anyone walked the Wales Coast Path? We want a walking vacation that isn't too strenuous, with plenty of places to stay along the way. Is there a part of the path you like best? Thanks! Jodi and Mike

Posted by
9110 posts

I've walked every bit of it plus the Offa's Dyke Path - - which means the entire perimeter of the Principality, less Anglesey.

How far can you walk in a day? How many days in a row can you keep it up? How much elevation change is strenuous? Will you have a car or two? If not, how to you plan to get off and on the Path, or is that something that has to be figured out.?

Posted by
3 posts

Hi, Ed:
Thanks for your response. We just learned of the path a few days ago, so we are barely in the planning stage. We are in our 50s and in good shape, but we'd like to stick to between 5 and 10 miles a day. We live in Colorado, so I don't think altitude will be an issue. Is it a village-to-village type path? We're looking for a walking vacation with accommodations at the end of each day's walk. Would the Wales Coast Path fit, or should we consider other parts of Great Britain?
Thanks much,
Jodi

Posted by
5633 posts

Colorado, 50s and good shape. You could consider doing 10 to 15 miles or longer days with luggage support. Just carrying a day sack with lunch and extras clothing, cameras etc is more like day hiking than backpacking.

Haven't walked Wales but I have had good service using Contours Walking Holidays: http://www.contours.co.uk/walking-holidays/wales.php
Contours will book and arrange self guided walks for a range of days and custom inset rest days into your plan.

Looking at Contours "Pembrokeshire Coast Path - North to South", they book the same 180 mile walk with options of 12 to 16 walking days. The 12 day option has you walking 10 to 18.5 mile days. The 16 day walk is 7 to 15 mile days.

Posted by
9110 posts

Ack! I go twenty-five or thirty and spot a car at the end or try to figure out the darn buses to get back. Here's a few ideas, and as my brain recalibrates to short distances I'll try to come back with more.

The most scenic is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path but it's going to give logistic problems if you stay in the National Park. If you stayed in Cardigan, you could walk the left bank of theTeifi and then out along the west side of the bay until you were an hour from being pooped and then cut back on the farm roads until you could hit a bus route. You could do the same on the other bank and it'd be easier but the scenery isn't as good.

The Menai Strait also offers possibilities. I like Caernarvon, but to take advantage of the only set of bridges, staying in Bangor would probably work best. You can catch buses back of the mainland side, I don't know about over on Anglesey.

Lastly, take a look at the Wye Valley, although not part of the Coastal Path, it's pretty spectacular. If you stayed between Chepstow and Monmouth you should be able to build some pretty good out and backs using both the English and Welsh sides of the river.

I've never used any tour groups or luggage support outfits anywhere so I don't know how those work.

Posted by
1838 posts

I have walked several sections of the Wales Coast Path. Don't assume that this is an entirely scenic path ALL the way around Wales. (One part even goes through the Steelworks town of Port Talbot). However, most of the Wales Coast Path does indeed pass through scenic areas. I would concentrate your attention on the best bits and these in my opinion are found in south-west Wales (Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion).

Assuming you do not have a hire car: take the train from London > Tenby *(suggest you book 2 nights). Only on summer Saturdays does a direct train go from Paddington to Tenby; the rest of the time you will probably change in Swansea. See www.nationalrail.co.uk
http://visittenby.co.uk
Take a boat ride from Tenby to Caldy Island. http://www.caldey-island.co.uk
http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/?PID=87
From Tenby, you could start walking the coastal path going westward. Manorbier & Freshwater East will be the next places with accommodation. Continuing W, you reach Stackpole Quay & then proceed to Barafundle Bay & the Bosherston lily pools. (You might wish to have accommodation in this area). Spectacular cliff formations are found between St.Govans & the Stack Rocks / Green Bridge of Wales. Walking is easy on this section as the land is more or less level. Unfortunately, it is within an army range as is closed to the public much of the time. (Usually open in August & at weekends).

From the Bosherston area, I would take a bus to Pembroke (see Castle) & then another bus to Haverfordwest. Now, you could go out to Dale or Marloes & walk that area & proceed around St.Brides Bay towards St.David's or take a bus from Haverfordwest to Solva (overnight stay), and then walk westward. Here are some coal bus routes:>http://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/content.asp?nav=838,1629,839,1038
http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/coast-path/
From St.David's , you could walk all the way up to Fishguard - which has trains that will take you back east.

However, should you wish, you could go by bus from Fishguard to Cardigan and then start walking the Ceredigion section of the Wales Coast Path. Mwnt would be a good starting point or , perhaps base yourselves in Llangranog for a couple of nights and walk both north & south from this village. (The path here has steep inclines).
http://www.ceredigioncoastpath.org.uk

As an alternative, you might like to try walking in an inland part of Wales. It would, for example, be relatively easy to catch a train at Fishguard and travel all the way across south Wales to Chepstow & then start walking up the Wye Valley. However, I did a section of this path near Tintern & found it rather boring as it was stuck under trees for quite a distance.

The Offas Dyke Path is mainly on upland.

This site will tell you more about Welsh long distance paths. I would also explore the places mentioned using Google Earth.
http://www.visitwales.com/things-to-do/activities/walking-hiking/offas-dyke-path

Local buses:>http://www.transportdirect.info/Web2/Home.aspx?&repeatingloop=Y
http://www.visitwales.com

Posted by
5633 posts

Re: ... never used any tour groups or luggage support outfits anywhere so I don't know how those work.

The UK has a number of luggage support or transfer services providers that pick up you bag in the morning and deliver it your next place of lodging. Walking holiday booking services typically contract with the local luggage support company. For walking routes such as the Wainwright coast-to-coast, there are a number of providers. On less popular routes, the booking service may hire a local transport company much in the same way that airlines deliver delayed baggage.

I understand that some luggage transfer services also offer "SAG" support and will transport a walker who needs that assistance.

Contours says: RELIABLE LUGGAGE TRANSFER Over the years we have built strong relationships with the people – specialist carriers, accommodation providers and taxi drivers – that move your luggage, so that you can relax and enjoy your walk each day knowing your luggage will be safely delivered to your next accommodation.

Here's an example of a luggage support service in Wales that I found via the Internet: http://walkalongway.com/luggage-transfer-service/
After 9.00am on your day of departure we will pick up your luggage from your hotel, B&B or camp-site along the trail, and deliver it to your next accommodation before 4:30pm (unless other arrangements are made).

Posted by
9110 posts

Here's a couple of more good walks that are fairly easy, although not necessarily on the Coast Path:

. From Conway, walk southwest up the mountain about three or four miles to what's left of an old hillfort (Cerrig-Y-Ddinas, I think). You can do most of it on lanes, but British land law is such that you can walk across fields and pastures as long as you don't trample crops or bug the livestock, plus you need to put gates back the way you found them as soon as you pass.

. Also from Conwy, starting at about the castle walk the left bank of the river and then swing the corner westward along the Menai.
until you're about even with the Penmaenmawr rail station so you can catch a ride back. There's either on or two train tunnels along there, the long one is pretty dark and neither has a lot of room for both you and a train,

. Take a look at the Snowdonia railroads. You can ride up and then walk back down along the bed. Walking up may take a bit more effort than you want. Ignore the weather forecasts, no matter how favorable, and take a rain jacket - - the weather changes faster than stink, Even in the sun, the winds can get a bit brisk,

Posted by
12013 posts

I defer to Ed in all things Welsh, but we decided to opt for a bit more structure to our walk than his solo style provides ( there were four of us walking together). Having never been to Wales and with no idea what to expect in terms of walking standards, I chose to go with one of the companies that books the lodging and provides luggage transport. We ended up paying about £5-10 more per person per day than we would have planning on our own, but it was worth it to us. Especially since one of the lodgings was such a gem, and we would never have found it on our own.

Even if you want to do it all on your own, you can learn a lot by consulting one of the walking company websites (Contours, Celtic Trails, etc.) They break the coast path up into manageable sections, listing the mileage each day and the start and finish for each day's walk. There may also be a description of the path and type of terrain. The Celtic Trails website also provided good information on public transport to the start and from the finish of each walk section. And then there are photos, which may help you decide which scenery most appeals to you.