Watch Your Step: A Guide to Walking the Famous Wales Coast Path

While studying abroad a few years ago, I had the opportunity to go with the International Students Club’s coordinator (Tony), his wife, and another international student to Wales for a lively four-day walking adventure.

I had been in love with Wales since I was fifteen and found The Welsh Fairy Book in my local library, so of course I jumped on the opportunity!

The coast of Wales is famous for its Welsh history, Hollywood film locations, and natural beauty. The path in its entirety runs 870 miles, from Queensferry in the north to Chepstow in the south. Along the way are hostels, B&Bs, pubs, and other places to stay—so some people do actually hike the whole thing in a go!

Mike Charles / Shutterstock.com
Mike Charles / Shutterstock.com

But for those of us with less time (or, ahem, stamina), it’s easy to pop on and off. Which is what I did when Tony took me to the Pembrokeshire coast.

How to Prep

As with all trips, the best way to understand and enjoy what you’re seeing is to read up on it beforehand. I mentioned before that I love Welsh fairytales and mythology, and I had read several volumes before I went. Understanding the legends of the land I walked through gave me a new appreciation for what I was seeing, and I was able to share the stories with my fellow walkers on our journey.

I also picked up a book of local history when we first arrived in Wales. Throughout the trip, I returned to this short book to discover more about the Norman invasion and the people who once lived in this part of the country. My favorite discovery was Princess Nest, the Welsh ‘Helen of Troy’ who resided in Pembroke and whose brother was one of the leading rebels against the Normans.

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If you’re a bird or nature lover, do some homework to see what’s in season and keep your eyes open during the hike. Sometimes you’ll get a rare sighting!