Pembrokeshire is unique in having such a special coastline that both a National Park and a National Trail have been created here.
The National Park's Delivery team are responsible for improving and maintaining the Coast Path. The National Trail Officer walks the whole of the Coast Path every year and notes the works needed for the next winter. The three Area Warden Managers co-ordinate the work with farmers and Warden Teams. Four Warden Teams carry out the work on the Coast Path as part of their wider rights of way role. Extra staff are taken on in the summer to help cut back the undergrowth.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) provides 100% funding for the National Trail Officer and funds agreed improvement works. Routine maintenance is funded up to 75% by NRW, 25% by the National Park Authority.
Maintaining the Coast Path is an all-year-round job. In the summer work we cut the grass and other vegetation, some areas may need to be cut three or even four times a year (Bracken can grown up to five feet high and block the Path).
We also do some essential repairs in the summer. We carry out routine repairs and renewals of stiles, gates and other path structures in the winter. Every year parts of the Path become unsafe due to cliff falls and have to be moved inland. By employing our own staff who know the Path well and by a process of risk assessment, we try to anticipate erosion problems and sometimes move the line of the path, with the agreement of the landowner, before a problem is obvious.
We aim to improve ease of access where possible. In 1995 there were 536 stiles to cross; by 2010 there were under 100. Over 400 stiles have been replaced with gates or removed altogether.
Our aim is to keep the Coast Path as natural as possible. We also aim to provide a range of challenge and experience to suit everyone. Steps (total 4,830) are only used where essential, you will find steps on slopes close to access points and on the steepest slopes where they are needed to reduce erosion but in more remote areas similar slopes may have no steps. The oak signposts used along the length of the Coast Path are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible while still being obvious (a neat trick if you can do it).
We are always glad to hear about the best and worst things on your walk. You can contact the National Trail Officer by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01646 624800.