FIRST minster Mark Drakeford was in Chepstow this week to mark 10 years of the Wales Coastal Path.

With Chepstow being the official start (or finish) of the path, Mr Drakeford met walkers and creatives in the town after being greeted by pupils from 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.

He presented the poem 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.

South Wales Argus:

Ifor ap Glyn presents his poem

Thursday’s event in Chepstow also showcased art installations from local artists Sheila Moya Harris and Toby Garratt, of local celebrity Sammy the Seal - 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 16, and then placed on a seal trail around the town’s landmarks for the rest of the year.

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.

In Monmouthshire, 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.

South Wales Argus:

Sheila Moya Harris and Toby Garratt with their sculptures

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.

Mr Drakeford 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.”