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Happy Birthday Wales Coast Path

Culture and Sport Minister, John Griffiths AM, joined walkers on a Ramblers Cymru Big Welsh Walk at Southerndown Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan recently for a special celebration to mark the second anniversary of the opening of the Wales Coast Path and to launch the third Big Welsh Walk.

The anniversary also saw the start of the Love the Welsh Coast campaign, run in partnership with Natural Resources Wales. The campaign is a month long programme of walks and other events to highlight the Wales Coast Path and attract visitors to the coast. Information about the campaign can be found on the Wales Coast Path website or by using the hashtag #lovethewelshcoast on Twitter.

The Big Welsh Walk consists of hundreds of led walks, run by local Ramblers groups, Lets Walk Cymru groups and partners such as CADW & Wildlife Trusts, which the public can join throughout May. As part of Love the Welsh Coast, many of these walks will take place along the coast path.

Developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, sixteen local authorities and two National Parks and opened in May 2012, the 870 mile Wales Coast Path is the first path in the world to run right along the coastline of a country. In the year running up to September 2013 the path attracted 2.82 million visitors and provided a £32.3m economic boost to coastal towns and villages across Wales.  

The Welsh Government invested £1.15million in 2013/14 to ensure the Wales Coast Path is of consistently high quality and will spend the same amount on upkeep and improvements in 2014/5. This builds on Welsh Government investment of up to £2 million a year between 2007 and 2013 which resulted in the opening of the path.

The Minister said:

"Wales is blessed with a beautiful coastline, made up of the rugged cliffs and world renowned beaches and picturesque promenades, towns and villages with many interesting sights such as castles, churches and cathedrals dotted along the way. The development of the Wales Coast Path is already providing a boost to local economies around our coastline and is attracting thousands of visitors to Wales. The work going on to maintain and improve the path will only increase the number of visitors and the economic benefits in future.  

"Walking parts of the path is a free and enjoyable way of increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. I'd like to wish the Wales Coast Path a very happy second birthday and would urge everybody to get out and explore their local coastline and take advantage of what's on our doorstep!"

Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru, said:

“We’d like to thank John Griffiths AM for helping us to launch our Big Welsh Walk. We want people to head out on walks all around Wales during May and experience the many benefits walking has to offer. Whether you are a keen walker or someone wanting to take their first steps into the activity, we have something suitable for everyone. People in Wales are just two feet away from a fabulous Big Welsh Walk.”

Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, which manages the Wales Coast Path, said:

“In the first two years since it opened in May 2012, the Wales Coast Path has made a significant contribution to the Welsh economy and captured the imagination of the nation. There are excellent recreational opportunities along the path that are available for local people and the visitors who come to explore, showcasing the diversity of the landscape and habitats along our coastline.

“Natural Resources Wales looks forward to continuing to work with our partners to develop this iconic attraction, improving access to our wonderful coastline and countryside and benefitting the Welsh economy. We would urge people to use this great resource and #lovethewelshcoast throughout May and beyond.”

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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