Welsh seaside keeps shining in the spotlight on first anniversary of Wales Coast Path
As the Wales Coast Path marks its first birthday this weekend, Carys Thomas pays tribute to a photogenic icon that has long graced the silver screen in everything from Bond to Harry Potter: our nation’s seaside
It could be considered Wales’ own Hollywood walk of fame.
The 870-mile Wales Coast Path finally came into being on May 5 last year after five years of planning.
But as well as becoming a magnet to walkers over the past 12 months, many ramblers might not realise it also offers a stunning glimpse into the rich and varied history of blockbusters shot on location in Wales for more than half a century.
It has been a popular destination for filmmakers from 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia – some of which was shot in the dunes at Merthyr Mawr, near Bridgend – to recent hits such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which included filming at a specially-constructed Shell House at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire.
And just 10 miles away, West Angle Bay formed the backdrop for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood in which Russell Crowe and his merry men fought off French invaders.
“The Welsh coast is simply stunning and it’s no wonder that production companies have sought out a number of beaches for some epic battles,” said a spokesman for the Wales Screen Commission.
“The scenery lends itself well to epic film-making and it is also an area that is relatively under-used.
“Some people who visit the sites might not have realised that a major film or television production was shot there, and they could be interested to know what else has been filmed in Wales. Even when they see the locations on the big screen or on television, they might be encouraged to visit for themselves.
“Doctor Who alone has meant a large increase in visitors to Cardiff, based on the popularity of the show and the enthusiasm of the fans.
“Anything that focuses on the major productions that have used Wales as a location can have a positive effect.
“The more Wales is seen on the big and small screen, the more producers will see it as a feasible and highly attractive location for their future projects.”