The coast of Wales has been named as 2012’s “best region on earth” to visit by travel publisher Lonely Planet.
Wales has been given this honour thanks to the opening of the All Wales Coast Path (AWCP), which will give people the chance to walk or cycle around the whole of the Welsh coastline, from Chepstow right round to Queensferry in the north of the country. The 1,377km coastal path makes Wales the only country in the world which makes the entirety of its coastline accessible through a formal trail.
“How better to truly appreciate the shape – and soul – of a nation?” asks the Travel 2012 guidebook, which picks out the world’s 10 best countries, regions and cities every year. Tom Hall at Lonely Hall explained that as well as the new coastal path, Wales also offers visitors “wildlife, great surf, castles and fantastic spots such as Barafundle Bay and St Davids.”
“Now that Wills and Kate have set up home in the area it has also received the royal stamp of approval,” added Mr Hall.
John Griffiths, Wales’ environment minister, expressed his hope that the new path would revitalise local businesses and described the Lonely Planet review as “fantastic news.” The AWCP, developed by the Welsh government and the Countryside Council for Wales, will open on May 5 2012. £2 million of funding for the project was provided by the government, while almost £4 million of European funding has been poured in over the past four years.
“We hope that the path will encourage not only visitors to Wales, but also locals to enjoy the health benefits of outdoor recreation,” said Sue Rice, project manager of the AWCP.