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Assembly Minister and Swansea Ramblers open Gower Coast Path



28th September 2010


The Welsh Assembly Minister, Jane Davidson, opened the latest stretch of the Welsh Coast Path in North Gower.   The proposed English coast path has recently been shelved due to the spending cuts.   Here in Wales the European funds to create our path are secure and the whole path will open in 2012.  

After the North Wales opening at Rhos on Sea, this is the second stretch of the coast to be officially opened.   Members of Swansea Ramblers group were present to support both ceremonies and take part in the inaugural walks.   (See our Rhos on Sea news item dated 1st July 2010).

The stretch opened today runs from Port Eynon to Llanmadoc.   The rest of the Gower coast will be opened in due course.   Our chairman was one of the invited dignitaries and to he was handed the Welsh Oak Coast Path Baton by Jane Davison which was then taken along a section of the coast by a contingent of Swansea Ramblers.  

The following is an extract from the official opening information:

Creation of the Wales Coast Path, a national endeavour to build a continuous 850 mile (1370 km) path from Queensferry in the north to Chepstow in the south, has been underway since 2007.   The full Path is scheduled to be completed by July 2012, jointly funded by Welsh Assembly Government, the European Union and the Local Authorities through which it passes.    The section being opened today is 16 miles / 26 km running from Llanmadoc in the north of Gower to Port Eynon in the South.

Development of the all Wales Coast Path in Swansea Once completed the Wales Coast path in Swansea will be 83km in total.   Whilst 26km of the Gower section is being opened today, it will ultimately run for 61km.   The Swansea section will start in Loughor at the boundary with Carmarthenshire and end in St Thomas at the Neath Port Talbot boundary.

The 11 landowners on this section of coast have all been extremely supportive and helpful to this project, including the hosts, the Christian Youth Camp.

The section being opened today has involved 7 legal diversions of public footpaths, the creation of 1.8km of new public footpath, the installation of 13 gates, 41 signposts and way-mark posts and includes 22 steps cut out of solid rock.

There are no stiles on this section of coast path and only 12 on the path as a whole. One of the aims of the Swansea project is to have a completely stile free coast path, which in turn is part of the aim to create an all Wales Coast Path that is as easy to use as possible within the restraints of landscape and topography.

This particular section of the coast path is important because relatively few people visit north Gower and it is hoped that the path will introduce more people to this area of Gower and help boost the north Gower economy.

This section of coast path lies within the Gower AONB and passes through two National Nature Reserves (Whiteford Point and South Gower Cliffs) and a range of habitats from the limestone cliffs of south Gower to Llanrhidian marsh in the north.   Rare choughs nest on the coast, and there are a number of important archaeological sites, including the cave where the red lady of Paviland was discovered.   Worms Head is one of the most famous landscape features of Wales.

The coast path around Swansea is on target to be completed by 2012   In addition to the development of the all Wales Coast Path, Swansea Council is committed to improving access in the coastal zone.   Approximately 1/3 of the total network of public paths within Swansea lies within the coastal zone - some 200kms.   Around 95% of the paths in this area are now open, up from 75% before the project began.   The Council aim to achieve 100%.




News Photograph  01
Jane Davidson arrives at the St Madoc centre



News Photograph  02
Alan Underwood from The Countryside Council for Wales welcomes the gathered community



News Photograph  03
Leaving the St Madoc centre for the Hills Tor Cliff top



News Photograph  04
Jane Davidson carries the coast Path Baton to the start



News Photograph  05
Swansea Councillor for economic regeneration, Gareth Sullivan, accompanies the minister



News Photograph  06
Whiteford Point behind the minister



News Photograph  07
New Coast Path signage



News Photograph  08
Stunning views in the morning sunshine for the large party assembled for the opening



News Photograph  09
Worms Head, bathed in morning sunshine, is visible from here



News Photograph  10
The minister approaches Hills Tor



News Photograph  11
Broughton in the morning sunshine



News Photograph  12
Mumbles Swansea Council senior footpath officer, Chris Dale, talks to the minister about the path



News Photograph  13
Chris explains the work needed to open the path



News Photograph  14
Swansea Ramblers chairman, Vernon Davies, accepts the baton from the minister



News Photograph  15
Alan Underwood (CCW), Vernon and Jane Davidson get ready to send Ramblers along the path



News Photograph  16
Swansea Ramblers raise the Coast Path Baton to the new section
(see our walks section for the rest of the walk)



VIDEO opening speeches in the St Madoc centre



VIDEO Jane Davidson opens the path at Hills Tor


All photographs Copyright 2010 Andrew Morgan. All rights reserved.


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