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The Wales Coastal Path is celebrating its tenth anniversary this week, with celebrations beginning with First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, meeting with local walkers, artists and pupils in Chepstow on Thursday 11th May.

With Chepstow being the official start (or finish) of the Coastal Path, Mark Drakeford met with local walkers and creatives in the town after being greeted by pupils of the Dell Primary school. The 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking trail runs from the Welsh border near Chester to Chepstow, connecting historic coastal trails, such as Anglesey, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Award winning broadcaster and National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn wrote a poem especially for the milestone, naming it ‘A Wales Coast Path Blessing’. The poem was presented by Ifor at Thursday’s event just after the First Minister unveiled a bespoke, handcrafted bench designed by Tony Bonnici from Newport Wrought Ironwork, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Coastal Path.

Ifor ap Glyn reading his poem ‘A Wales Coast Path Blessing’ to pupils of The Dell Primary

Thursday’s event in Chepstow also showcased art installations from local artists Sheila Moya Harris and Toby Garratt, showcasing examples of seal sculptures, linking to the importance of the environment along Wales Coastal Path. The sculptures will be exhibited by the riverside in Chepstow as part of the Festival of Arts on July 16th, and then placed on a seal trail around the town’s landmarks for the rest of the year.

Local artists Sheila Moya Harris & Tony Garratt

Year 2 pupils from the Dell Primary School gave a delightful performance of Penblwydd Hapus/Happy Birthday to celebrate the 10-year milestone, accompanied with handmade cakes made from Chepstow School’s year 9 ‘Bake off’ winners.

The Wales Coast Path has made it easier than ever to explore Wales’ coastline. In Monmouthshire, you can enjoy the trail in short sections or walk the whole 14-mile (22km) length from Chepstow to Magor. Black Rock is a popular spot along the Coastal Path as it offers spectacular views of the Severn Bridge and the Prince of Wales Bridge, and a peaceful spot to enjoy picnics and bird watching.

Year 2 pupils from The Dell Primary celebrate the milestone

A year-long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations. Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty. The path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and 16 castles.

Tony Bonnici presents his bespoke, handcrafted bench to the First Minister

First Minister Mark Drakeford, who spent time meeting all the people involved in the celebrations, said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution. I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards. If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest.”

Chepstow School’s ‘Bake off’ winners talk with the First Minister

The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

If you would like to walk a stretch of the Wales Coastal Path in Monmouthshire, you can find out more information here: Wales Coast Path – Visit Monmouthshire

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