Encouraging people to get outdoors and appreciate the beautiful Welsh landscapes is part of the celebrations to mark 7 years of the iconic 870-mile Wales Coast Path.
Thanks to Welsh Government investment, a new sculpture has been commissioned to mark the half-way point of the trail, called ‘Fair Winds and Following Seas’. In addition, a new visitor app is in development and an extra £500,000 has been invested in projects to improve the Coast Path and National Trails, including projects in Welshpool, Gwynedd and Pembrokeshire.
With funding from Visit Wales’ Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF) Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is creating the new augmented reality app, to encourage more people to get outdoors with engaging visuals, informative stories and interactive games. It will also cover a wide range of topics such as local myths and legends, flora and fauna, wildlife, local history, mysterious shipwrecks and surprising facts.
The new sculpture was created by artist David Appleyard and developed in close conversation with the community in New Quay where it is situated. It depicts a bronze deity blowing a kiss into the wind as a symbol of luck for all travellers that pass it.
It’s a nod to old mariners’ blessings and recognises the historical voyages taken around the Welsh coast, setting them against the modern journeys embarked along the Wales Coast Path. The work is accompanied by a poem composed by prominent Welsh poet, and New Quay resident, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.
A toolkit for coastal businesses has been designed to help those organisations market their products and services through the pulling power of the Path and how it can benefit them. The free, easy to use online resource gives businesses access to a wide range of material and information in one place – including logos, news items, posters and videos for use in online and offline marketing and promotion.
Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said:
“Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty. Its route stretches around our entire coastline and is the first of its kind in the world.
“The path makes a huge contribution to the Welsh economy – and is estimated to generate around £84 million a year in visitor spending, supporting more than 1,000 jobs.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said:
“Wales has a fantastic and varied coastline, and in this Year of Discovery I want to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy it for themselves.
“We are working to ensure the benefits of the path are valued and enjoyed by people and communities across the country, in particular everyone who lives and works near our coast.
“The success of the Wales Coast Path, and our commitment to reforming access more broadly will ensure we continue to build on this success for the benefit of all the people of Wales.”