Lonely Planet's 'Best in Travel 2012' names Coastal Wales as best destination
PUBLISHED: 19:35 04 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
According to the Lonely Planet travel guide, the coastline of Wales is one of the most beautiful locations in the world WORDS BY RAY KING
All images courtesy of VISIT WALES.
Crown Copyright (2012)
Among the exotic locations in the Lonely Planets Best in Travel 2012 are Borneo, La Ruta Maya in Central America and the southern Lakes of New Zealand.
But the number one spot in the globally-respected guides top ten is much closer to home: Coastal Wales.
What a wonderful thing, says the guide book, to walk the entire length of a countrys coastline, to trace its every nook, cranny, cliff-face, indent and estuary. How better to truly appreciate the shape and soul of a nation? Well, in 2012 Wales will become the only country in the world where you can do just that.
The All Wales Coast Path (AWCP), completed in May, now squiggles continuously from Chepstow in the south to near Queensferry in the north via dramatic serrations, sandy bays and domineering castles making 870 miles of shore accessible. And some of the most spectacular coastline of all is on our doorstep in North Wales, from the unspoilt Flintshire dunes of the Dee estuary just across the Cheshire border, around the dizzying cliffs of Llandudunos Great and Little Ormes, the Isle of Anglesey, the Llyn Peninsula to the glorious sweep of Cardigan Bay all the way down to Barmouth.
The route takes in nature reserves, areas of Special Scientific Interest and of Outstanding Natural Beauty and follows the promenades of North Wales most popular seaside resorts. It skirts the castle walls at Flint, Conwy, Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Criccieth and Harlech with the peaks of the Snowdonia National Park providing a magnificent backdrop.
A series of 13 highly detailed maps chart the course from Queensferry to just west of Bangor and a further 17 show the way around Angleseys coastline, starting at the point of crossing the Menai Strait via Thomas Telfords wonderful suspension bridge and ending in Caernafon. The next series of maps all of which are downloadable free of charge from the web site of the Countryside Council for Wales (www.ccgc.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/wales-coast-path.aspx) cover the route around the Llyn Peninsula and Cardigan Bay. Barmouth features on map 40.
Wales is the first country in the world whose entire coastline is accessible by a public path. The network also links into the Offas Dyke Path - creating a 1,030 mile (1660km) route around the whole of Wales. Its completion marked the pinnacle of a five-year project to link up the network of paths, backed by the Welsh government, the Countryside Council for Wales, landowners and local authorities.
The joy of the Wales Coast Path is not only the fantastic variety of shoreline scenery it offers, but walkers and on some stretches, cyclists too are able to pick and mix sections they find most rewarding. The north Wales coast is a mixture of wonderful beaches, stunning cliffs and family friendly towns and villages.
There are miles of sea views from the North Wales path and, at Prestatyn, the Wales Coast Path joins Offas Dyke Path, Britains longest ancient monument and a National Trail. There are several recommended walks of various distance all easily achievable in a day and only a short drive away.
Some of the best walks:
Little Orme 0.5 miles
A newly surfaced wheelchair access path which takes you out to Angel Bay which is great for bird and seal spotting. For more of a challenge, continue over the Little Orme towards the town of Llandudno.
Conwy MoMountain 3 miles
Conwy Mountain stands proud to the west of Conwy and is served by a good network of paths. In summer the hill turns purple with bell heather. The summit has fine views and is the site of an Iron Age hill fort.
Four Mile Bridge to Treaddur 9 miles
The path begins along the Anglesey shore then heads inland and passes through woodland. It soon follows a beautiful and diverse stretch of coastline with rocky inlets, sandy coves and striking cliffs before reaching the coastal village of Treaddur Bay.
Plas yn Rhiw to Porth Neigwl 3.3 miles
From Plas yn Rhiw you will see the wide expanse of Porth Neigwl or Hells Mouth, the Llyns primary surfing beach. When the tide is out you can follow the beach for about three miles before reaching the base of Mynydd Cilan.
Porth Dinllllaen to Porth YsYsgaden 6.2 miles
From the rocky promontory near Morfa Nefyn you can admire views to the east and west along the Llyn Peninsulas northern coast. You have a good chance of seeing seals close to the shore as you wind along the coast to the cove at Porth Ysgaden.
Porth Orion to AbAberdaron 6.8 miles
As you walk toward Aberdaron you will see Bardsey Island, once a destination for pilgrims. According to legend three visits to Bardsey was equivalent to one visit to Rome.
The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Cheshire Life
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