New Year message from Cllr Paul Harries, Chairman, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
It’s been one of the busiest years ever for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, as we welcomed record visitor numbers, keen to enjoy our award-winning beaches and iconic coastline, against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Adapting our lives over the past two years has highlighted just how important having access to good quality outdoor space is for health and wellbeing.
I was able to reap the health benefits of our spectacular coastline for myself during September, when I undertook my postponed 50th anniversary walk of the 186-mile Coast Path. Despite the physical demands of the challenge, it was a timely reminder of how fortunate we are in Pembrokeshire to have a world-class walking route and such a wonderful asset on our doorstep.
Challenging as the last two years have been, they have provided invaluable opportunities for the Authority to work in partnership with other organisations and members of the public to respond to the climate emergency, improve accessibility throughout the Park and educate young people on the importance of caring for the exceptional landscape that surrounds us.
Cllr Harries during his postponed 50th anniversary walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Partnership work with Pembrokeshire County Council has resulted in the installation of publicly-available electric vehicle charge points in 18 centrally-located car parks throughout the county and free tap-water refill points at a range of coastal locations. The purchase of around 30 acres of low-grade farmland near Trefin has also enabled the Authority to support carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
New schemes such as Roots to Recovery, delivered in partnership with MIND Pembrokeshire, the availability of beach wheelchairs in the winter months and the second virtual Archaeology Day event organised with PLANED have taken great strides in making our Park accessible to all, and we hope to build on these successes over the coming year.
My special thanks go to the volunteers who’ve continued to support the work of the Authority on so many projects, including the creation of new paths and the maintenance of existing ones, along with improving access and biodiversity so that more people can enjoy the unique and varied landscapes of the National Park.
I would also like to thank the many people who visited the Pembrokeshire Coast throughout the year and remembered to #TreadLightly, safeguarding this special part of the world for future generations.
Although 2022 looks set for a difficult start, the year holds plenty to celebrate, including the 70th anniversary of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the 10th anniversary of the Wales Coast Path – one of the few footpaths in the world to follow a nation’s coastline.
I hope that you will take the opportunity to visit and explore more of your National Park in 2022 and experience the very best this special place has to offer.
On behalf of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority – Members and staff – may I thank those groups and individuals who have supported us in our work and may I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a spectacular 186 mile (299 km) long National Trail covering some of the most varied coastal scenery in Britain.