Protecting the coast for people and nature

A stretch of the Great Orme coastline in Wales
Published : 09 Sep 2015 Last update : 20 Nov 2015

Fifty years after the launch of our radical plan to save the coastline for the nation, an inspiring stretch of the Great Orme in north Wales has come into our care. We’re also looking ahead with a new coastal vision which aims to help secure the future of coast paths, creating opportunities for people to enjoy the coast and making space for nature.

A people-powered campaign for the coast

In May 1965 we launched our Neptune Coastline Campaign to protect special areas of coastline under the threat of development. Thanks to the support of hundreds of thousands of people, we’ve been able to protect 775 miles of coastline across England, Wales and Northern Ireland for people to enjoy and for nature to thrive in.

‘Over 50 years the extraordinary generosity of people from across the world has enabled us to buy some of the most beautiful, dramatic and diverse coastline on these islands,’ said Helen Ghosh, our Director-General. ‘This campaign has tapped into that deep sense of connection with, and love of, the coast. Without this, our coastline could look very different today.’


Neptune Rising: Celebrating 50 years of the Neptune Coastline Campaign

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign and to thank the nation for 50 years of support, Neptune, God of the Sea, has risen from the ocean at the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. Discover some of the remarkable achievements the Neptune Campaign has made over the last five decades - and let it inspire you to enjoy the British coast this summer and beyond.

Welsh gems part of coastal journey

The Welsh coastline has played an important role in our coastal story. Whiteford Burrows near Llanmadoc on the Gower Peninsula was the first place to be saved by the Neptune Coastline Campaign while five acres of cliff top at Dinas Oleu near Barmouth in Gwynedd was the very first place to come into our care.

The coastline we now look after on the Great Orme near Llandudno is one of the top botanical sites in the UK with butterfly and plant sub-species unique to the headland. It’s also a place rich in archaeology dating back thousands of years and has fantastic views of Anglesey and the Welsh coast enjoyed by millions of visitors every year.


360 degree view of Parc Farm on the Great Orme

Take a closer look at the Great Orme with this 360 degree view of Park Farm on the Great Orme headland - one of the most recent stretches of coast to come into our care.

Wales leads the way for coastal access

As we look to the future a key part of our new coastal vision is supporting the creation of new paths and access along one of our great natural assets, the whole coastline of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The 870-mile Wales Coast Path opened in 2012 but more work is needed to maintain the quality of the path along some sections.

We strongly support the Government’s promise to open up the entire coastline of England by 2020 and Natural England has already made great strides on the England Coast Path. In Northern Ireland we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to look at opening up the coast, work which has already given access to a scenic stretch of the North Antrim Coast.

Improving the coast for people and nature

As the single biggest coastal landowner in England, Wales & Northern Ireland we’re keen to share our experiences of managing coastline and access. We’ll work together with Government agencies, partners and other landowners to deliver our vision for a healthy, beautiful coastline rich in wildlife and culture which people can enjoy and which benefits local communities and the coastal economy.

But we need your help. We’re only able to care for special places like the Great Orme with your support. We need to raise £3,000 per year on average to look after a mile of coastal footpath and our broader work of ensuring safe access to beaches and protecting wildlife habitats costs much more.

To help make sure our coastline can be cherished for ever, for everyone, please give a donation. Thank you.

Read our coastal vision (PDF / 0.9873046875MB) download

This article was first published on 6 July 2015.

Whiteford Burrows, Gower peninsula, South Wales

Visit Whiteford Burrows 

Explore Whiteford Burrows near Llanmadoc on the Gower Peninsula - it was the first place to be saved by the Neptune Coastline Campaign.

Dinas Oleu headland with Barmouth town and coastline in the foreground

Dinas Oleu walk, Barmouth 

Wander through the winding old town up to the gorse-covered Dinas Oleu, donated by Victorian Fanny Talbot to the people of Barmouth.