An excellent example is the stretch that runs through Carmarthenshire: the path takes you to the bustling town of Llanelli, through Burry Port with its charming harbour, to Kidwelly with its magnificent castle, and on to the picturesque waterside village of Ferryside.
Better still, each of these places has a railway station not far from the path, making it easy to combine a walk with a train ride through some of the loveliest scenery in the region: expect plenty of breath-taking watery views as the train makes its way around the coast.
In Llanelli, you can walk to the North Dock to join the coast path in 15 minutes, picking up the Millennium Coastal Path, which runs from Llanelli through Sandy Water Park with its picturesque lake, to Burry Port and on to Pembrey Forest.
“The 22km route boasts beautiful views along the coast – so it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to pay it a visit,” says Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism for Carmarthenshire County Council. “Tourism in Carmarthenshire is worth £513 million to the local economy. There is no doubt that the coastal path has benefited the economy of Llanelli; whilst it is not possible to put a figure to how much it contributes, the path has opened up the coastline in the area for leisure activities including walking and cycling, bringing people into the area who will spend money locally.”
The waterfront walk provides stunning views of Carmarthen Bay and the Gower Peninsular. There’s also an excellent adventure playground for the kids, and you can hire bikes at the popular Ramp Skatepark.
Depending on Covid-19 restrictions, you may also be able to spend time in Llanelli before or after your coastal walk. Here you’ll find two fascinating historical attractions: Llanelly House, a beautiful 18th Century Georgian townhouse where an interactive tour takes you deep into the history of the house, the people who lived there, and the town itself; and the lovely Parc Howard Mansion and Gardens, where you can learn more about Llanelli’s history, including its importance as a producer of tinplate.
Follow the Millennium Coastal Path or take the train further west to Burry Port and you can take in lovely harbour views and miles of golden sand on its two beaches. Look out for the scenic lighthouse, which stands near where Amelia Earhart landed after her record-breaking flight across the Atlantic in 1928. On the way to the harbour, you’ll see the famous Parsons Pickles factory where the renowned pickles are made to a secret recipe, and lava bread and cockles are also processed. The town has a good selection of pubs and cafes, so it’s a great place for refreshments.
The Wales Coast Path and the Millennium Coastal Path follow the same route until they reach Pembrey, where the Millennium Coastal Path ends. From there the Wales Coast Path continues west to the small town of Kidwelly, best known for its impressive 12th Century castle, near which is the field where Welsh princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd is said to have died in 1136 leading an army against the Normans. Also worth a visit are the town’s former quay – now a nature reserve, and – Covid-19 restrictions permitting – its Norman parish church and industrial museum.
Travel on to Ferryside and you can take in spectacular views across to Llansteffan. Originally the landing point for the ferry to Llansteffan, the pretty village has a lovely parish church – St Ishmael’s, which used to sit on the pilgrimage route to St Davids.
“Our rail network is a perfect way to explore the Wales Coast path, and the stretch than runs through Carmarthenshire is a must for anyone who loves history and beautiful scenery,” says Jennifer Barfoot, Community Rail Officer for South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership. “Combining a day out on the train with an exploration of the path and the towns and villages along makes a perfect day out. Even for people who know the region well, there is still so much to discover.”
Do you have a walking route based in the region that you would like to share? Please get in touch!