Wales Coast Path - The Officially Beautiful Bits

People often ask us:  ‘what are the most scenic parts of the Wales Coast Path?'

There is no easy answer!

For a start, beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Many people will find the wide open spaces of the Dee and Severn estuaries appealing, especially those with an interest in the bird life for which both are famous.

Others will find urban areas attractive – the great cities of Swansea, Cardiff and Newport in the south or the north Wales resorts of Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno, for example.

Not to mention the dramatic castles and other monuments liberally scattered around our coastline; or the drama and interest for some in the industrial landscapes such as Port Talbot steelworks or Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey.

However, handily for this article, some stretches have been officially designated or defined as ‘beautiful’ by Natural Resources Wales and their predecessors and partners.  

National Parks

First off, the Wales Coast Path runs through two National Parks - the Premier League of landscape designations. The Pembrokeshire Coast is the only National Park in Britain primarily designated for its coast and it is internationally renowned for its magnificent beaches, bays and cliff top walks.

Further north, Snowdonia is mostly known for its mountains and in places the WCP runs through the foothills. However, it also includes many miles of coastline, including the long sandy beaches of Morfa Harlech and Morfa Duffryn.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Three areas of the Welsh coast, Anglesey, Llŷn and Gower, near Swansea, have been designated as AONBs – which are pretty much what they say on the tin. Outstandingly beautiful!

To the untrained eye they are little different to National Parks – the beaches, bays and cliff tops are all still there.

Heritage Coasts

The intention of Heritage Coasts is to define the finest stretches of undeveloped coastline and to conserve and manage them comprehensively, including for enjoyment by the public. We have 14 in Wales but, slightly confusingly, many of them are within AONBs - a sort of double endorsement of beauty!

However, non AONB Heritage Coasts on the Great Orme in the north, Ceredigion in the west and Glamorgan in the south add about 60 km to our beautiful map.

So, where should you go for all this beauty? 

Really, you are spoilt for choice; so we suggest you come back again and again.

And please don’t forget the attractions of the bits not on the map!