You don’t have to be a hardcore hiker to enjoy the Wales coast path – here are three weekend walks to try – just do a single day if you fancy something even shorter!
The ancient town of Conwy makes a great destination for a weekend break. The imposing 13th century castle and Medieval town walls with 21 towers form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a variety of interesting walks revealing extensive wildlife and dramatic scenery.
Day 1: Conwy to Llandudno and the Great Orme. The North Wales Path skirts the headland of the dramatic Great Orme rock. The top of the Orme, which can be reached via several paths, features one of the oldest deep mines in the world, where copper was extracted during the Bronze Age. After rounding the Great Orme the path continues along Llandudno’s picturesque Victorian promenade. More energetic walkers can continue on over the Little Orme and down to the seafront of Rhos on Sea, home to Wales’ smallest church, St Trillo’s.
Distance: 9/14 miles (14/23km)
Day 2: Conwy to Penmaenmawr, via the Sychnant Pass. The path follows the bank of the River Conwy, before heading back south and climbing up onto the heather-clad slopes of Conwy Mountain. There are dramatic views south across the striking Sychnant Pass valley into Snowdonia and the route climbs higher over the hills until it brings the walker to the high open moorland above Penmaenmawr. Points of interest along this route include the prehistoric Druid’s Stone Circle, which is believed to be 5,000 years old. After 10 miles, the path descends into Llanfairfechan where you can catch a bus or train back to Conwy.
Distance: 10 miles/16km
The Glamorgan Heritage Coast Path stretches for 14 miles between Aberthaw, west of Barry and Newton Point, Porthcawl. A variety of habitats, history and fantastic geology make it a great coast to walk and explore.
Day 1: Llantwit Major to Monknash. Walk through the historic town down to the beach or start from the beach itself near the café. Walk westwards along the cliff- top path (or along the beach at low tide – walking along the beach will make the walk seem longer) towards Nash Point (three miles), where during the summer months, refreshments are avail- able at the kiosk (Mrs. Cooke’s Welsh cakes are a speciality!) You could go back for a circular walk or continue on to Monknash - from the cliff tops you’ll see the impressive beach platforms (four miles). At Monknash walk inland for about a mile to the Plough and Harrow real ale pub.
Day 2: Merthyr Mawr to Southerndown. Start at the National Nature Reserve of Merthyr Mawr – taking in the second highest sand dune system in Europe, through the picturesque village of Merthyr Mawr and across the stepping-stones on the River Ewenny to Ogmore Castle. A gentle walk along the river leads you into Ogmore-by-Sea. As you approach Southerndown you’ll see the distinctive rock banding and the beautiful view of Dunraven Bay (five miles). Southerndown is also the base for the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, including an information centre.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is fantastic from start to finish, but right out west St Davids makes a great base for a two night short break. Britain’s tiniest city (population: 1,797) is full of history and the cliff scenery either side is superb. The coastal bus service runs back and forth along the coast making linear walks easy to achieve. Choose late April to mid-June to see the coastal flowers at their best.
Day 1: Whitesands Bay to St Davids via St Justinians and Porthclais, or start in St Justinians for a shorter walk. You can’t miss the stunning views of the Ramsey Island RSPB Reserve and the beach café in Porthclais makes a welcome refreshment stop.
Distance: 7.5/9 miles (12/15km)
Day 2: Walk St Davids to Solva, or extend your route to Newgale for far reaching views along the coast. The Harbour Inn beside the fjord-like inlet at Solva makes a perfect lunch stop.
Distance: 6/9 miles (10/12km)
Want to make a short break of it? See the Visit Wales website for ideas for weekend breaks
Staying further inland? Read our Top spots for inland walks in Wales
Other websites:National Trail
All photos © Crown copyright (2012) Visit Wales