Footpaths and walking in the Brecon Beacons
Everyone who visits the Brecon Beacons is blown away by the glory and magnificence of this scenery. But the Beacons are a lot more fragile than you may think. Over 350,000 pairs of boots walk over them each year and the number has doubled in the last year.
So a lot of work has to be done and money spent to maintain this wonderful area. The area that needs urgent attention is the 600 metres leading up to Pen Y Fan and Corn Du which see a lot of footprints and are a precious part of our Welsh landscape.
The National Trust looks after 8,000 acres of the central Brecon Beacons than includes Pen Y Fan. The foot paths are made using a method called stone pitching, which has been in use since Roman times. Individual stones are placed in the ground upright and stabilised by packing tightly with smaller stone and soil. Once the path is constructed, the surrounding areas are landscaped, banks sloped and the whole area re-vegetated.
Every year around £100,000 is spent on constructing and maintaining the footpath network in the central Brecon Beacons.
The harsh climate in the central Brecon Beacons and high number of walkers mean that these footpaths are subject to erosion that need actively management.
Turn back time to the 1980s before anyone started repairing the footpaths, and the slopes of Pen y Fan were covered with vast erosion scars. For the last thirty years, the team have embarked on an ambitious programme of upland path repair.
They’ve created 15km of defined stone pitched paths within the 70km footpath network that criss-cross the central Brecon Beacons, built 400 drainage ditches, introduced 500 culverts and re-vegetated an area as large as 30 football pitches.
The rangers are up on the mountain on a regular basis keeping up with repairs. In summer you’ll find them closer to the peaks, working on the high sections of path, and in winter, on the lower slopes, closer to the car park.