Wales Coastal Path: The Comprehensive Guide

Wales Coastal Path: The Comprehensive Guide

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to the Wales Coastal Path that has all the necessary information about this adventurous walk, you’ve come to the right place.

The Wales Coastal Path is one of the relatively new paths in the world, offering what sounds like an endless walk across the Welsh coasts.

While that might sound intimidating to some, the truth is that you do not need to be a long-distance hiker professional to experience the Wales Coast Path: wildlife enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, and day travelers will all enjoy it.

But what does this path entail, how long is it, where do you start from and finish, and how many days does it take to complete the walk?

Everything you need to know is in this article, so keep reading below!

What Is The Wales Coastal Path?

The Wales Coast or Coastal Path is more than just a path to walk or run; it’s a gateway to an epic journey, a peek into the Welsh coastal lifestyle and the scenic beauty of the country.

Wales Coastal Path sunset
Wales Coastal Path sunset

This path encircles the entire coastline of its homonymous country, offering a long-distance walk of stunning ocean views, spectacular beaches, hills topped with wildflowers, and enchanting coastal communities.

A considerable amount of work was completed in a relatively short timeframe so that the Wales Coast Path would be operating as soon as possible.

New coastline pathways were built, and several older established routes were upgraded, while in certain areas whose coasts were not accessible, and heavy traffic roadways appeared to be the only way to get to the coast, hiking pathways were formed beside the roadways.

Are There Markers Across The Wales Coast Path?

The installation of branded signposts and way markers that replace makes it possible to distinguish the Wales Coast path from all other trails and routes, and you can find them both at the starting and finishing point of the path as well as in many spots in between.

How Long Is The Wales Coastal Path?

walking Wales Coastal Path
Walking Wales Coastal Path

The new pathways created have a length of 210 kilometers, rendering the Wales Coast Path an extremely long one.

Indeed, the Wales Coastal Path is a long-distance hiking path of more than 1400 kilometers, which needs a lot of your time to cover if you are determined to get from the starting to the finishing point.

How Much Time Will I Need To Walk The Wales Coastal Path?

The entire trail requires about 2 months to finish for most hikers, regardless of the starting point you choose.

However, even if you choose to go for a shorter walk instead of walking the entire path, the experience will be equally thrilling.

Consider them a jumping-off point to explore the riches of coastal Wales, which range from watersports and swimming to seaside horseback riding and forest biking.

Is The Wales Coast Path Difficult To Complete?

The Wales Coast Path is an amazing and fun destination for hikers and nature lovers, but it’s essential to emphasize that it’s not some regular old walk by the Welsh beaches.

Wales Coastal Path difficult
Wales Coastal Path difficult

Some sections are easier to walk, and you can even grab an ice cream to indulge in while you walk, but other pathways are moderate, even difficult for people with less experience, with many sharp climbing routes and downhills.

However, the majority of the stages of the Wales Coast Path are relatively easy to walk, with the difficulty of this path being its extremely long distance which can exhaust you if you are not used to walking long distances or trying to cover greater distances than your body can handle in a day.

So, expect a great deal of variety, with rocky slopes, bumpy bays, and long shorelines standing in stark contrast to bright-colored but also tacky-looking resort towns and darkened industrial sceneries.

Wales Coastal Path Map

The Wales Coast Path website offers a brilliant interactive map you can use for your journey along the Wales Coastal Path which you can print or use online to mark your stops as you go.

You can also add different starting and finishing points to see the path’s length between them, along with any temporary path detours.

If you are keen on sharing your journey on your social media, you can click on the relevant icon on the page.

Where Does The Wales Coastal Path Start And Finish?

The Wales Coastal Path covers great distances as it starts from Chester – which is in England – and ends in Chepstow.

Many people also choose to start from Chepstow, so it’s up to you to choose your starting and finishing point.

Chepstow is conveniently located at the bottom of the Offa’s Dyke Path in Wales, so if you wish to do a loop hike you can easily do so.

Along the walk, you can gaze at the highs of Snowdonia, move down to the vibrant and dynamic cities of South Wales.

And then head to Pembrokeshire’s biodiverse islands and Anglesey’s legendary treasures, or go the other way around to spend your last day or even more days in Snowdonia and enjoy the great variety of activities offered at its National Park.

Either way, each stage of this path has its own distinct allure with many things to do and even more ways to discover them!

Wales Coastal Path Itinerary

Wales Coastal Path Itinerary

If you are determined to walk the entire Wales Coast Path, then the best way to plan your trip is by dividing your hiking trip into stages.

A great idea is to consider as stages of your walk several of the regions you will walk through. So, for example, you can easily split your walk into 8 stages:

Stage 1: North Wales Coast And Dee Estuary

Rhyl’s Marsh Tracks offer a 1.3-kilometer closed loop that is designed for cycling and BMX race tracks of national standards, so if you are an adventure biker you definitely need to walk this stage of the Wales Coastal Path.

If you prefer the sea, then you can try kitesurfing at Kinmel Bay, which belongs to those activities that are becoming even more famous these days.

Stage 2: Isle of Anglesey

In the plentiful waters surrounding the Isle of Anglesey you can catch some fish or at least try your luck at doing it for the first time!

A broad range of fish have built their homes in the sinkings near the shore, so do take advantage of the opportunity to take a break from your walk and fish in the blue seas of the area.

If you are more adventurous, choose the watersport activities the region offers and go surfing or kayaking.

For an adrenaline rush, you can also try climbing up some steep cliffs with the sea water being your starting point and, of course, the help of a professional!

Stage 3: Menai, Llŷn, And Meirionnydd

Of all the places in the United Kingdom offering the experience of rock climbing by the beach, the shores of Gwynedd have the best offer in place.

Llŷn Peninsula walk
Llŷn Peninsula

You can head for water sport activities at the Llŷn Peninsula, at Porth Neigwl as well as at Porth Oer, where you will be exposed to the Atlantic’s big waves that invite you and your surfboard for a day of fun.

Abersoch Bay’s smooth waters, on the other hand, are perfect for water skiing and wakeboarding, while Plas Menai is the best place for skilled sailors, windsurfers, and kayakers.

Stage 4: Ceredigion

Kayaking, waterskiing, SUP surfing, and parasailing are popular adventure watersports you can do along the Ceredigion coasts.

There are numerous adventure centers in the region, with Llangrannog having a center for ski learners too!

Stage 5: Pembrokeshire

The countryside of Pembrokeshire is a haven for nature lovers.

Sunny and rural vibes and stunning panoramas are only a few of the things you can expect in this region, along with a great variety of watersport activities you can spend your time doing.

Pembrokeshire view

You can also experience one of the best diving experiences in the world at Skomer’s Marine Conservation Zone or dive in other places across the region which National Geographic named the planet’s second-best coastal attraction.

Stage 6: Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire showcases breathtaking coastal scenic views with broad rivers, cliffs, and ponds, as well as all the amenities you need along the way.

You must also take a stroll along the Pendine Sands, where world speed records have been written and then broken again, with the Museum Of Speed located there offering you all the details you need!

Continue up the east coast on the trail to see three historical landmarks, which are none other than the castles of Laugharne, Llansteffan, and Kidwelly as well as Laugharne, the little town known as the home of Dylan Thomas.

Stage 7: Gower And Swansea Bay

The city center of Swansea is so close to the bay that a walk there is worth it if you want to take a lunch break or even spend the night before you continue your long-distance walk on the Wales Coastal Path.

Swansea Bay walk
Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay is known for having the second-highest tidal range in the world, while Gower is known for its waves that are ideal for surfers who want to ride the waves while they are there.

Stage 8: South Wales Coast And Severn Estuary

For some kart time, you must definitely stop at the South Wales Kart Circuit, the only open-air kart in the country, or head to Porthcawl for some water sport activities.

Cardiff Bay offers a variety of leisure activities throughout the year, including speed rides in rigid small rafts and outings to the Bristol Channel Islands.

Chester, which is also your finishing (or starting) point offers a wide range of both land and water activities that you can enjoy on your first or last day of the walk!

Other Itinerary Options

The official website of the Wales Coast Path offers several suggestions on how you can walk the path.

Every one of the recommended walks is accompanied by a brochure, which you can either download for offline access on your phone or even print to have it handy or keep in your backpack in case your phone runs out of battery.

They include helpful info such as a map, distances covered, as well as any transportation connections available in every region and area.

However, keep in mind that each stage differs from the others in terms of distance and is sometimes difficult, so you need to plan accordingly and take into consideration such variables.

Wales Coast Path Accommodation

Accommodation Wales Coastal Path
Find Accommodation Wales Coastal Path

There are plenty of accommodations across the Wales Coastal Path, so depending on where you plan to stay the night, you can choose from a variety of accommodations, like hostels, hotels, Airbnbs, and guesthouses.

The official website of Visit Wales offers a detailed list of the available accommodations along the path, so visit it for more information.

Wales Coast Path Book

There are many providers offering a guided tour across specific regions or parts of the Wales Coast Path which typically include:

  • pre-booked accommodation along the path with breakfast
  • luggage transfer service so that you can carry nothing but a backpack with the necessary things with you
  • an information pack with all the details and maps relating to your journey
  • financial protection

The prices of these tours vary, and it depends on the provider you will choose and how much you will pay. Of course, there are other variables too such as the distances covered and the popularity of each area, and the availability of accommodations, among other factors.

The official website of Wales Coast Path offers another list with all the providers offering paid tours across the path, so depending on which you want your starting and finishing point to be, you can choose one or more of them.

However, if you plan to walk the entire Wales Coast Path, then it might be best for you to plan your trip alone and even consider same-day bookings as your pace, potential fatigue, as well as weather conditions could affect your timetable for this trip.

Safety Tips

The Wales Coast Path is a walking or hiking trip that needs to be an exciting and risk-free experience.

The following pieces of advice are very useful, especially if you are unfamiliar with walking along the coast, as you are likely to encounter bad or changing weather.

Safety tips Wales Coastal Path
Safety tips Wales Coastal Path

Moreover, if you wish to take some variant routes to discover the more distant parts of a region, then make sure you do the following:

  • Stay on the trail and avoid getting closer to rock outcroppings.
  • Wear the appropriate hiking boots and bring or wear waterproof clothes.
  • Check the weather forecast every couple of hours and certainly before starting your day to make sure you won’t have to face any adverse weather or heavy rain and winds.
  • Always keep an eye on children and dogs.
  • Inform someone – a friend or a family member – who is not joining you on the path for your whereabouts and your daily itinerary so that, in case of an emergency, they will be able to narrow the area you are in and track you down.
  • Take care of the wildlife around you and respect the environment; do not leave any waste behind, do not destroy the wildflowers, and try to keep your pets (if any) from doing so.

Wales Coast Path Packing List

If you are planning on walking the entire path, then you will need to pack a lot of things for those couple of months ahead of you as the weather conditions will certainly vary, and so will your clothing.

So, pack your luggage with many pairs of socks and underwear, waterproof clothes, fleece, and sweaters, as well as a wind-proof jacket in case you find yourself halfway through the walk and have strong winds suddenly coming towards you.

When it comes to things you need to carry in your backpack, then make sure you have the essentials for the day, which are:

  • An extra pair of socks
  • A jacket, sweater, or fleece
  • A cap or hat
  • Suncream
  • An emergency space blanket
  • A disposable rain poncho
  • Snacks, and perhaps meals in containers if you want to save money and not eat in the restaurants and eateries in the villages and towns you walk by
  • Water bottle(s)
  • headlamp
  • First-aid kit
  • Some kind of navigation; this could be your smartphone or any other GPS device

The Bottom Line

This is it; the Wales Coast Path in all its glory and in as much detail as we could fit in an article.

This coastal walk along the beaches and shores of Wales is undoubtedly the best and most rewarding way to experience the coastal Welsh life and take in the breathtaking views of the endless horizon.

As well as enjoy outdoor and water activities provided by some of the best centers and professionals in the UK.

So, regardless of whether you want to walk the entire path or only a part of it, make it your priority and start planning your trip!

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