Welsh ambitions to have a full coastal path for cyclists and walkers by 2012 rode forward this week with the opening of a new section in South Pembrokeshire.
The new 5.5 mile (or 9 km) path is part of the Castlemartin Range Trail, running along the Castlemartin Range – an area used by the Ministry of Defence for pre-deployment training of crews operating heavy armoured vehicles in Afghanistan.
The Welsh Coastal Path project will span 850 miles when complete. Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP) of £2 million per annum has been supplemented since 2009 by Welsh European Funding, which total £3.9 million over three years.
Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson opened the new section. She said: “I am delighted to officially open this stretch of coastal path that improves access for walkers to this part of the world famous Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This new stretch of path will provide local people with new opportunities to get active, in line with our Change4Life programme, whilst enjoying stunning scenery.”
Commander Defence Training Estate Wales and West Midlands Colonel Richard Howard-Gash said: “Supporting our Armed Forces is the top priority for Defence Estates and training areas, such as Castlemartin, are vital elements in helping our troops prepare for operations in Afghanistan.
“The Castlemartin Range Trail allows us to balance the pressing need for military training with the desire of walkers, cyclists, horse riders and others to enjoy this area of spectacular beauty.”
Access Programmes Manager Sue Rice of the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) who manage the Coastal Path project said: "We would like to thank all the partners, the local authority Pembrokeshire County Council, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the team at the Welsh Assembly for all the hard work that they have put into making the path happen. The work on the ground is key if we want to achieve our target of path completion by 2012."