Dive into 2018 – it’s Wales’s Year of the Sea.
It’s more than 800 miles long, and peppered with craggy islands and surf-feathered beaches. It features marine sanctuaries of global importance, ferocious tides and coasts of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It often dictates our weather and surrounds us on three sides. It is, of course, the sea.
Throughout 2018 we’ll be helping you explore our coastal (and estuary) waters as the country’s tourism body Visit Wales celebrates the Year of the Sea.
The Wales Coast Path – 870 miles of wow!
The Wales Coast Path became the world’s first continuous coastal path to stretch the length of a country. Since opening in 2012 it has attracted international praise. We may be biased but for sheer variety alone we reckon our 870 miles represent Britain’s best coastline.
It’s impossible to sum up all the experiences it has to offer. Here in North Wales you’ll find all that variety and more. Imagine walking from Llandudno to Porthmadog, taking in all the highlights of the North Wales coast along Snowdonia’s northern fringe – that’s 125 miles right there! Or why not circumnavigate Anglesey and the spectacular Menai Strait, the island’s own special coastline? You could venture further afield and explore the lesser-known Llyn Peninsula – a wild stretch of coastline riven with mystical seascapes – if solitude and space are your thing, this is the coast for you.
Do it all and you could use the Conwy Valley Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway to complete an amazing, bucket-list loop of the entire region.
The Wales coastline has more than 230 beaches
As we’re blessed with so many beaches we have all kinds here – sandy, rocky, pebbly and often all three. At some you can explore dunes, at others you’ll need to be sure-footed as you clamber down steep cliffs.
Some can only reached by walking a coastal path while others have direct access from a promenade. Thanks to our wiggly coastline you can usually find a beach sheltered whichever direction the wind is blowing. We have enough beaches – and many of them are big enough – for you to lose yourself for the day, if that’s your thing. From a bracing walk in winter to a windbreak picnic in the summer months, there’s always a patch of sand – or shingle – with your name on it.
For a traditional day of seaside fun head for Llandudno’s North Shore, Rhyl, Barmouth or Barmouth. Walk with nothing but your thoughts for company on the wide expanses of Newborough, Talacre or Dinas Dinlle. Dive into exciting watersports at Plas Heli in Pwllheli, Plas Menai on Anglesey or Colwyn Bay. Search for life in the rockpools of Llandudno’s West Shore, Red Wharf Bay or Llanfairfechan.
In North Wales, there’s a beach for every kind of beach lover – you tell us what you like, we’ll tell you where to go. Of course, we have our own favourite North Wales beaches which we’ll be sharing with you on the blog this year.
Tour our coasts along The Wales Way
The Wales Way is a collection of three touring routes, offering up a grand total of 450 miles of unforgettable sea and mountain scenery. The Coastal Way covers every beautiful mile of Cardigan Bay, 180 miles from Aberdaron on the tip of the Llyn Peninsula to St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire. From Holy Island off Anglesey to the Dee Estuary in the east, the North Wales Way takes you 75 miles across Anglesey and the Menai Strait, along Snowdonia’s north coast past castles and beach resorts, then up over the Clwydian Hills and through Flintshire’s little-explored hinterland. The three routes are completed by The Cambrian Way, linking Llandudno to Cardiff via Wales’s wild and wonderful mountain spine. Each route gives you endless possibilities to build your own adventures – The Wales Way website provides maps and travel info to get you started.
Mother Nature at her finest
What is it that draws us to the sea? There’s the salty smell in the air, the sound of the surf, that feeling of being on the edge… that big expanse of blue that somehow calms us, often putting life’s little trials into a new perspective.
There’s amazing wildlife to enjoy, including dolphins, seals and a whole birder’s bible of our feathered friends. From puffins to peregrines, porbeagles to porpoises, even the rare mountain ponies that call this mountainous coast their home, your binocular viewfinder is never empty.
Then there’s the coast beneath your feet – startling rock strata encasing eons of history and carpets of wild flowers that bloom in spring and last all summer. Walking and picnicking along our coast is a joy throughout the warmer months, and you don’t have to tread far to find a patch with views.
History and heritage on our shores
Human history has as much of an impact on our shores as does natural history. From the leisure resorts of the North Wales coast to the fishing villages of Anglesey and Gwynedd, our coastal settlements go from lively to sleepy in the space of a few miles.
The coastal quarries of the Great and Little Ormes and the brick-making and copper mining remains around Amlwch on Anglesey demonstrate how much of an industrial powerhouse this part of the world once was.
Our ports at Bangor and Porthmadog exported Welsh slate around the world. Incredibly there is a small island off the coast at Porthmadog that is entirely man made, from slate waste! Yet here and elsewhere these fascinating histories work in harmony with nature, not against it. Around every headland there is a new discovery to be made.
More than the sea
But the Year of the Sea is about much more than just our coastline – it’s about our shorelines too, wherever they may be. Around lakes and pools, along rivers and streams, at the foot of waterfalls and rapids our shores all stretch to the sea in one way or another, many from the heartland of Snowdonia.
The Conwy Valley Railway runs along one of the greatest rivers in North Wales, the Conwy, and from the train you can also visit many of the most beautiful watery landmarks in the region – from Conwy Falls to Llyn Elsi to the subterranean lakes of Lechwedd Slate Caverns.
We’re super-excited to be sharing the Year of the Sea with you. Throughout 2018 we’ll help you make the most of our coast as well as the tidal waters of the River Conwy, along which of course the Conwy Valley Railway runs.
In 2018 discover new epic experiences on the shores of Wales; this is the Year of the Sea #FindYourEpic #NorthWalesWay #TheWalesWay
Book your ticket with National Rail or Travelline cymru.
Train times www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk