Jane Davidson, Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing
Wales is expected to achieve a world first next year when the Wales Coast Path is officially opened on Saturday 5th May 2012. Wales will become the first country in the world to have a formal trail the whole way around its coast.
The delivery of the 861-mile Path is a One Wales objective, and its opening is expected to follow six years of Assembly Government and WEFO investment via the Coastal Access Improvement Programme, with considerable effort by the Countryside Council for Wales and coastal local and National Park authorities.
779 miles of the route is currently available to walkers, and work is underway to substantially complete the remaining sections in time for May 5th next year, exactly one year following the Welsh Assembly Government elections, and ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Since the start of the programme in 2007, we have created 76 miles of new coast path, and improved 244 miles of existing path. The Coastal Access Improvement Programme will continue until March 2013, allowing continued improvements to the alignment and quality of the route to be made.
The Wales Coast Path will be a very significant tourism and recreational resource for Wales. The path will attract new visitors to the coast where the economic benefits will be felt at a local level, and importantly in rural parts of Wales, while also providing an opportunity for local people to enjoy improved access to the coast.