Campaign to restore Brecon Beacon footpaths ahead of busiest ever tourist season
The National Trust is embarking on essential footpath repair work in the Brecon Beacons ahead of what it predicts will be the busiest tourist season ever. The number of visitors to the area has doubled in the last five years, and the charity has identified an urgent need to restore walking paths on one of the UK’s best loved mountains, Pen y Fan.
The Trust has cared for the central Brecon Beacons for 30 years, and spends around £100,000 each year maintaining footpaths. The conservation charity is launching an urgent appeal to raise additional funds to repair damage caused by erosion ahead of the huge influx of visitors set to descend on the area this spring.
Lead Ranger Rob Reith started working for the Trust in 1986, and has been at the helm of footpath repair work for the last thirty years.
He says, ‘It’s fantastic the area is so popular with visitors, who experience the stunning outdoors and enjoy the challenge posed by one of our best loved peaks. But with popularity comes wear and tear. Judging by recent figures, it looks like 2018 could be the most popular year ever for walking in the Brecon Beacons, and we need to make sure the paths are in the best possible condition to accommodate that.’
If the repair work wasn’t carried out, the visitor footfall - combined with the changeable weather - would cause erosion and widen the paths. In the past, this has created scars 30-40 meters wide with a loss of vegetation and 1000’s of tonnes of soil.
Since the Trust started looking after the area three decades ago, its staff and volunteers have created over 15km of stone pitched paths and 400m of drainage ditches, as well as reversing declining vegetation in an area as large as 30 football pitches.
Joe Daggett, Countryside Manager for the National Trust, said, “We have a massive responsibility to look after these areas for people to enjoy and to benefit nature. To do this, we are reliant on public support alongside our dedicated staff and volunteers. Campaigns such as this help to shed a light on some of the challenges we face and why this work is so important.”
The National Trust cares for over 3328 hectares of land in the central Brecon Beacons, which includes over 70km of footpaths and bridleways.
For more information on the appeal, or to donate, visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brecon-beacons-appeal/