Footpath work on the Brecon Beacons

Volunteers helping to stone-pitch footpaths in the Beacons © National Trust

Volunteers helping to stone-pitch footpaths in the Beacons

There are over 70km of footpaths and bridleways that criss-cross over the central Brecon Beacons. Over the last decade, 15km of these routes have had a path line defined by stone pitching, stone gravel surface or a sub-soil surface. Completing this work has meant that over 75,000m2 of bare soil has been re-vegetated and recovered on the surrounding path routes.

Our progress over the past year or so

There's still a further 10km of footpaths without vegetation and more than four-metres-wide. In 2013 and 2014 we continued with the work on Cefn Cwm Llwch footpath running from Cwm Gwdi up to Pen y Fan. We had a lot of help from working holiday groups and other volunteers to help us stone-pitch 100 metres of path.

Quarrying the stone

The stone we'll use will first have to be dug out and sorted into the correct size and shape. We're sourcing it from Cwr Mawr quarry, situated on Pen Milan, north-west from Corn Du.

This work is done either by hand or using a small digger. Each stone will then be placed into a one tonne dumpy bag until full. Seventy of these bags were then airlifted over to the work site on Cefn Cwm Llwch by helicopter in the summer .

Volunteers

Throughout the summer, with the help of a variety of volunteer groups, we'll use the stone to create a solid and hardwearing footpath using a method called stone pitching.

This method has been used since before Roman times. Each stone is placed into the ground upright and stabilised by packing tightly with smaller stone and soil.

Once the path is constructed then the surrounding countryside will be landscaped, banks sloped and the whole area re-vegetated.

Our aim for 2015

We're hoping to keep on top of the stone-pitching at Cefn Cwm Llwch and continue our work up to Pen y Fan. We also hope to recruit more volunteers to help us maintain the footpaths all year round. This never-ending task is made considerably easier with extra pairs of hands.

The cost

Each year the cost of constructing and maintaining the footpaths is in excess of £100,000. To continue with this vital work, we're running an appeal for donations.

If you'd like to help finance this work you can make a donation.