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Heritage walks on Wales Coast Path

November 2016

It’s not just gorgeous scenery and wildlife that’s on show on the 870 mile Wales Coast Path. Thousands of years of history and Welsh heritage come alive on these short walks around our coast.

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Llandudno Pier, North Wales by Robert D Thomas

Conwy’s world heritage-listed castle and Rhôs’ tiny 6th-century St Trillo’s Chapel bookend this walk. In between is Wales’s finest traditional resort, Llandudno; Bill Bryson named it his favourite because of the Victorian pier. For the complete heritage day descend from Great Orme headland by tram – Victorian, naturally. 

Beaumaris - Penmon Priory, Anglesey

Offa's Dyke path, Powys, Mid Wales
Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey

The Wales Coast Path passes the front door of Penmon Priory and the pilgrimage well of St Seiriol. It’s a magical spot; the atmosphere steeped in centuries of devotion, the views of Snowdonia’s mountains flawless. The problem is leaving behind the Unesco-listed postcard-perfect castle at Beaumaris. 


Bardsey Island, Llyn Peninsula

You tread in the footsteps of poets and pilgrims on this circuit. Welsh poet RS Thomas and centuries of pilgrims knew St Hewyn’s Church in Aberdaron. The latter continued on this beautiful cliff walk towards Bardsey Island, the island of 20,000 saints just off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula. 


Harlech Castle, Snowdonia

So impressive is Harlech castle they wrote a song about it, ‘Men of Harlech’, and Unesco put it on the World Heritage list. This walk puts it at the centre of views fit for a shortbread tin: that mighty medieval fortress, one of the best beaches on the Ceredigion coast and the peaks of Snowdonia behind.


Abereiddy, Porthgain, Pembrokeshire by chrisjangeorge

So scenic is this coast most walkers overlook its industrial heritage. Yet the listed brick hoppers at Porthgain tell of when the harbour flourished exporting stone for road-building in the early 1900s – Porthgain means ‘Chisel Port’ – and Abereiddy’s famous Blue Lagoon is a former slate quarry. The return inland is along the old tramway between the two.


St David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire by seentwistle

A mini-pilgrimage to honour our patron saint. Start at St Non’s medieval chapel, said to be St David’s birthplace, and arc round to Porth Clais, a harbour since Roman times where the saint was said to be baptised. The best is saved till last – a return via the 12-century cathedral of Britain’s smallest city.


St Govan's Chapel, Pembrokshire by Paula J James

No one knows exactly when St Govan’s Chapel was built. At least 1,000 years ago. Maybe 1400. Nor is anyone sure about its steps; legend says their number changes when you walk up and down. That this tiny chapel in the cliffs ends a superb stroll? Definitely. 


Manobier Bay and Castle, Pembrokeshire by Linus263

Seven miles that pack in thousands of years. Explore a Norman castle and contemporary church in Manobier – “the pleasantest spot in Wales” said 12th-century chronicler Gerard Cambrensis, today reached by train from Tenby. Then put the sea on your right to discover a Neolithic chamber, King’s Quoit, and seaviews before Burrows beach and the walled town of Tenby.


Laugharne Castle in the snow, Carmarthenshire

Only in Dylan Thomas’s Laugharne can you track a “heron priested shore”. En route around the estuary are the boathouse where Wales’s most famous poet wrote and the ruins of medieval Laugharne Castle. Hopefully you’ll avoid “the pale rain over the dwindling harbour”. If not do as Dylan would: go for a pint in Brown’s Hotel.


Oxwich Castle, Gower

Sir Rice Mansel was onto Gower long before it was declared Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He built his 16th-century manor to take advantage of the finest view in Oxwich. Explore a family pile with the latest Elizabethan mod cons (inside toilets) then discover one of the most outstanding coastlines in Wales.

For more articles on Wales click here


 

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