Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go...
We’d like to introduce our new Snowdonia footpath team – four of which have been appointed thanks to donations to a special appeal we launched this February.
Snowdonia Countryside Manager, Rhys Thomas, said “We’re delighted to be able to expand the team. Donations to date have allowed us to appoint an Area Ranger for the appeal as well as three experienced seasonal rangers. We’re still calling for support to reach our crucial £250,000 target so that we can purchase supplies and organise for them to be helicoptered to the worst affect areas. ”
Footpath work is tough and costly work - the remoteness, rough terrain and weather conditions often mean it can take a full day to repair about 2 meters of upland stone-pitched footpath at a cost of up to £180 per meter. With our latest survey revealing that over 2.5 miles of footpaths are critically eroded - the team have a big challenge on their hands.
The National Trust looks after 58,000 acres of stunning countryside in Snowdonia, including 11 of the highest 15 peaks in Wales and a vast network of popular paths. This iconic landscape has been attracting visitors to the area for decades, but in recent years the increase in footfall has jumped.
Rhys continued, “On Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain, we’ve seen the number of walkers double since 2007.The added pressure on paths in such a wet place as Snowdonia, has increased the level of erosion, which eats into precious upland habitats.”
Urgent work is needed at Cwm Llan and Bylchau Terfyn, both of which are within the Snowdon National Nature Reserve (NNR). The team have started repairing 85 meters of footpath at Cwm Llan, using a combination of stone pitching techniques, and stepping stones in the flatter, wetter areas. This section will involve using 40 tons of stone that was recently helicoptered in. Work is also scheduled at Cwm Bochlwyd, a popular route up Tryfan and the Glyderau ranger near Ogwen Cottage.
Newly appointed Area Ranger, Ned Feesey will be responsible for managing the footpath team, the repairs and the ongoing surveying of footpath condition. Ned said “I love walking in the hills, so I’m really chuffed to get the chance to work on the appeal. To witness first-hand, the positive impact the footpath repairs will have on our fragile upland habitats is going to be really rewarding.”
Rhys concluded “We’d like to thank everyone who has donated to the appeal so far; we really appreciate your support. But in order for us to complete all the urgent repairs, we still need to reach our £250,000 target.”
You can donate to the Snowdonia appeal online.
With your support vital paths and routes in Snowdonia that are in desperate need of repair can be restored. Please support this appeal and help protect Snowdonia for ever, for everyone.