Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Fri May 08 2015

Opinion Home | Why Wales? Discover Britain's Road Less Traveled!

  • Visit Wales Staff Writer | May 8, 2015 3:00 PM ET

    Walking in Wales

    Walking in Wales

    Wales was made for walking! Wales was the first country in the entire world to offer walkers a dedicated footpath that traverses the length of its stunning coastline. It's also a country that believes in the "right of way" for walkers, which means you can tread over hill and dale, though fields and forests, and never encounter anything but stunning scenery and friendly smiles. 

    Maybe the best thing about the walking paths in Wales is that they offer something for everyone -- from the super-fit to the newbie walker to the physically challenged.

    Take the Wales Coast Path or "Llwbr Arfordir Cymru" as it’s known in Welsh. It’s the world's first dedicated coastal footpath and it runs through 11 National Nature Reserves and some of the most awesome coastal scenery you've seen in your life. In 2012, the year the path was opened, Lonely Planet named the groundbreaking trail the number one region in the world in its Best of Travel awards. You can do all or part of this 870-mile walking path – from Chepstow in the South to Queensferry in the North. 

    Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Britain’s only coastal national park, makes up one portion of the Wales Coast Path. Its gentle rises and long stretches of flat walking are great for light walkers and soft adventurers. The sea-salt air keeps the area cool in the summer and you can veer off and find a friendly pub to rest and refresh. You don't have to stay on the coast either – walk inland through the park for forests and fields. One of the most fascinating trails runs past Pentre Ifan, a mysterious clutch of standing stones that have been there since Merlin's time. Some say this legendary Welsh magician actually brought them here!

    Offa's Dyke Path is another walker's dream. The long-distance trail winds around the Wales-England border for about 177 miles. The Offa’s Dyke Path combined with the Wales Coast Path makes the perimeter of Wales completely walkable. The trail is named after King Offa. He ordered the construction of the dyke in the eighth century to divide his kingdom from neighboring kingdoms in Wales. Walking the whole path will take you about 12 days, but you can choose segments to stroll, including areas around the Black Mountains, the Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Range. The path also takes in charming towns like Llangollen, where walkers can stop, stay the night in an 18th-century-era inn, and listen to the sounds of a Welsh choir practicing in a stone church by a gurgling stream.

    Hardy walkers will want to challenge themselves with uphill walks in the Brecon Beacon and Snowdonia.

    The Brecon Beacons National Park 's 520-square miles of scenery include four individual mountain ranges, 268 ancient monuments (including standing stones) and over 3,000 miles of bird-filled hedgerow. The park is near to some of the most charming villages in Wales, including the famous Hay-on-Wye, a town filled with antiquarian bookshops. The Brecon Beacons are also a quick 30-mile drive from Cardiff and a scenic three-hour drive from London.

    Snowdonia National Park also includes both moderate and easy walks as well as harder climbs. One of the country’s most popular mountain hikes is at Cadair Idris, whose volcanic slopes are also the home to a fascinating myth – if you spend the night there you're supposed to wake up endowed with poetic brilliance!

    Snowdonia is also home to the highest peak in Wales, Mount Snowdon, whose cloud-girt crown is also said to be King Arthur's last resting place. Walkers can hike up its 1,085 mile ascent – Sir Edmund Hillary used Snowdon to train for his landmark climb of Mount Everest. If you don’t feel like hiking, take a scenic train ride to the summit on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

    With miles of easy-to-follow trails, fit for all levels of ability, that pass by charming village pubs, country hotels and other cozy rest-stops, there's no other country in the world as friendly to walkers as Wales.


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Visit Wales Staff Writer Why Wales? Discover Britain's Road Less Traveled!

Visit Wales Staff Writer Visit Wales is the New York-based government tourism office for Wales, one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. A land with 641 castles, 870 miles of walkable coastline, three national parks and award-winning cuisine, Wales offers travelers a variety of activities and different landscapes to explore. The country's Celtic history and ancient language make it a distinctive British destination. For more information on Wales travel, trade can visit and consumers can visit
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