Book Review: Walking The Wales Coast Path (A Cicerone Guide)

Cicerone Wales Coast Path
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I’ve often looked enviously at the Wales Coast Path. I’ve hiked small sections of it, spotted dolphins playing in the water, and enjoyed the views and the historic sites. But now, reading a revised edition of Walking The Wales Coast Path, a Cicerone guide, I’m tempted to go back and try some more.

What Is The Wales Coast Path?

Book cover with text Walking the Wales Coast Path, showing the sea crashing against rocks

The Wales Coast Path was opened in 2012. Starting just over the English border, at Chester Cathedral, it follows the whole of the Welsh coastline until it comes to an end at Chepstow. Both ends of the trail are very close to the Offa’s Dyke Path, which runs between Wales and England, meaning that you could theoretically combine the two paths to walk right around the country.

At 1,400 km (870 miles) the Wales Coast Path is the longest waymarked trail in Britain. It is also one of the few paths in the world to follow the entire coastline of a country. The route is very varied, with beaches, cliffs and coastal villages.

It passes through nature reserves and the national parks of Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire. There is an abundance of birds, animal life and wild flowers, and views across the sea to small offshore islands. Of course, as it takes in the whole of the coast, the path is also punctuated by caravan parks, urban areas and industrial sites. However, it is mostly a natural landscape, a place to escape from everyday life.

What Does The Cicerone Guide Include?

The Cicerone guide to Walking the Wales Coast Path is written by Paddy Dillon. He is a seasoned hiker – Cicerone’s website describes him as a “prolific walker and guidebook writer, with over 90 guidebooks to his name” – and he is obviously very familiar with this particular path.

The guide starts with some background information about Wales and the Coastal Path. There are sections on geology, scenery and wildlife. And a brief history of the country: the route passes medieval Welsh castles, neolithic sites, industrial archaeology, and more.

Ruins of old fortifications with grass in front and sea behind
You will pass historic sites along the way (image ©Paddy Dillon and Cicerone Press)

Practical Information For Walkers

It then moves on to the practical details you will need for your walk. This includes options for accommodation and food and drink, as well as guidance specific to the route (such as the need to be aware of tide times…) There is also information about public transport, particularly useful if you are only walking part of the route, or if you want to skip the less scenic sections.

The bulk of the book consists of chapters describing each stage of the route. Each section has notes on terrain and places of interest as well as transport, food and places to stay. These are followed by detailed walking notes and maps. Margin notes give extra snippets of information about places along the way.

Shallow waterway with a narrow concrete bridge leading to a house and trees
All photography and jacket image ©Paddy Dillon and Cicerone Press. From Walking the Wales Coast Path, 2022, by Paddy Dillon

Who Should Buy Walking The Wales Coast Path?

It has to be said that few walkers will tackle the Wales Coast Path all in one stretch. To do so would take several weeks, or longer if you want to stop along the way and enjoy everything that Wales has to offer. However, this guide would be just as useful for walkers tacking the route in stages – or even just dipping in and out of it – as for the most intrepid hikers.

The book is in paperback format but once purchased you can download it in GPX format for online use. And, finally, if walking round three-quarters of a country isn’t enough for you, you could also buy the Cicerone guide to Offa’s Dyke Path and complete the circuit!

Walking the Wales Coast Path, Cicerone Press, 2nd ed, 2022, 9781786310668

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I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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