The Ceridigion coast forms part of the route. Photo: David Bateman

The Ceridigion coast forms part of the route. Photo: David Bateman

Hundreds of walkers will pull on their boots this weekend to celebrate the opening of the world’s longest coastal path round a whole nation.

The Wales Coast Path offers 1,400km (870 miles) of walking from the Dee estuary in the North to Chepstow in the South.

Ambitious hikers can also join the Wales Coast Path with the Offa’s Dyke Path for a complete 1,660km (1,030-mile) circumnavigation of Wales.

Ramblers Cymru has lined up more than 100 coastal walks to celebrate the path’s official opening over the Mayday bank holiday weekend.

The charity it urging as many people as possible to join a walk. A spokesperson said: “Ramblers are calling all of Wales to share in this triumph of 870 miles of walking, enjoyment and access to the seaside for everyone to enjoy.”

Events will place along almost every stretch of the Welsh shore from short seaside ambles to clifftop hikes as well as the Welsh Government’s official launch events in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Flint.

Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru said, “It’s the final countdown to the launch of the Wales Coast Path and the Ramblers are gearing up for a weekend full of coastal walking.

“The launch of this coast path is a milestone for access to our countryside and coast and to celebrate it we’re calling for everyone who can, to join us to walk along the Wales coastline to appreciate the magnificent opportunities that this path will make available.

“We’re thrilled to have lined up over 100 coastal walks and don’t want anyone to miss the chance to be a part of this exciting event.

“We’re encouraging everyone in Wales to gather their friends and families and spend this May Bank Holiday outdoors enjoying the exhilarating effect of a walk by the sea.”

Morgan Parry, Countryside Council for Wales chairman said: “There is real excitement that the coast path is going to provide a valuable boost to the economy of coastal areas, attracting visitors as well as local people to enjoy this unique resource that we will have created. It’s important that everyone gets behind the initiative so that Wales can realise its huge potential.

“In terms of public health, it is more important than ever that we create the best possible opportunities for people to enjoy walking and all the benefits of being active outdoors.

“Creating access for everyone is an important aspect of this project – some sections of path will be suitable for people with disabilities, families with prams and buggies, those on horseback and cyclists.”

The Wales Coast Path has been waymarked. Photo: Andrew Morgan

The Wales Coast Path has been waymarked. Photo: Andrew Morgan

The official launch of the Wales Coast Path will take place on Saturday at Aberystwyth Promenade, Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay and Flint Castle, Flint.

In addition to funding from the Welsh Government and the coastal local authorities of about £2m per year, the European Regional Development Fund has allocated nearly £4m over four years in support of the project.

Improvements to the quality and alignment of the route will continue during 2012 and 2013 to ensure that the path follows the Welsh coastline as close as it is safe and practical.

Over time, the Wales Coast Path is expected to lead to the creation of circular coastal routes as links to the inland towns and villages are improved.
The Ramblers’ spokesperson added: “If you can’t get to Wales, walkers across England and Scotland will be joining in the celebration with a countrywide Coast for Most weekend.

“The events aim to highlight the wonder and diversity of the British coastline, encourage even more people to get out and experience the exhilarating effect of a walk by the sea, and demonstrate why this amazing coastal path should be rolled out across England, with a corresponding network of coastal paths in Scotland too.”

Full details of the celebrations in Wales and information on the path are on the Wales Coast Path website.

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