The National Trust campaigns to restore the UK's footpaths
The National Trust is campaigning to repair footpaths in the Brecon Beacons, in preparation for the busy tourist season beginning in spring.
The charity has predicted record numbers will visit the area this summer after numbers have doubled in the last five years.
The walking paths on one of the UK’s most popular mountains, Pen y Fan, are in urgent need of restoration. Without the repair work the visitor footfall and the changeable weather would cause erosion and widen the paths. In the past, this has created scars between 30 and 40 metres wide, causing a loss of vegetation and thousands of tonnes of soil.
The National Trust, which has cared for the central Brecon Beacons for 30 years, spends around £100,000 each year maintaining footpaths. The staff and volunteers have created over 15km of paths and 400m of drainage ditches, and reversed vegetation decline in an area the size of 30 football pitches. They now need to raise funds to repair damage caused by erosion, ahead of the many visitors set to descend on the area this spring.
Lead Ranger Rob Reith started working for the Trust in 1986, and has managed the footpath repair work for 30 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."
National Trust volunteers repair a footpath. Image © Billie Charity, National Trust Images
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.”
For more information on the appeal, or to donate, visit the National Trust's Brecon Beacons Appeal.
Main image © Billie Charity, National Trust Images