24th June 2014

Wales Coast Path – connecting communities and visitors


In 2012 we ran a GeoVation Challenge asking for ideas to better connect visitors and communities along the Wales Coast Path, helping to stimulate economic growth and opportunities in the coastal areas.

One of the winners of the GeoVation Challenge was Living Paths!, an idea from Robin Owain to address the problem of lack of local information available on the Wales Coast Path. Some information is published in pamphlets but these are expensive to distribute and difficult to source. Publishing online is possible but can be difficult due to the complexities of web-authoring for most people. Communities in Wales often find it difficult to share information about their locality such as historic buildings, circular paths, geographical features and other points of interest.

Living Paths! Llwybrau Byw! is a project that aims to empower local communities along the Wales Coast Path to create Wikipedia® pages and post stories about their communities, allowing diverse local information to become accessible.

Local people know best about their locality, sights to see and facilities available and through Wikipedia, a digital encyclopaedia; they can share that information.  Better, richer information on Wikipedia benefits the users of the path as well as local people, connecting visitors with local communities through information on locations and points of interest (such as wildlife, shipwreck sites, castles, local tales etc).

Businesses providing visitor accommodation benefit by being able to dynamically import rich Wiki content and images into their own websites using a new WelcomeWiki Lite tool, which is free to workshop attendees. This adds considerable value for searchers when choosing their destination before booking, and helps them plan their trip.

In July 2013 Robin Owain was appointed the first Wikipedia Manager for Wales by Wikimedia UK and Wici Cymru and the Living Paths! project was started in January 2014.  A training coordinator has been appointed along with 9 wiki-skills accredited trainers. To date it has had approximately 1,200 new articles created and 1,500 images uploaded. The project will train business and community groups in all coastal counties that border the Wales Coast Path, with simple Wikipedia web-authoring and editing skills through free workshops.

In the video below Robin explains about what the Living Paths Project is doing and why:

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