by Gill Caves, Group Footpath Secretary
What we aim to do on this page is to keep you informed about issues affecting Rights of Way (public footpaths, bridleways etc) and access for walkers. This will include any path closures we are aware of and more general issues affecting the management and maintenance of the path network.
The Future of our Footpaths - December 2017
The Welsh Assembly Government consultation on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources is now closed. Although this title may not sound very relevant to us as Ramblers, the document included some far-reaching proposals relating to the Rights of Way network and Access Land. Proposals included, for example, the opening up of more footpaths to cyclists and horse riders and the extension of rights on the CROW Access Land. I do hope that as many of you as possible took part in the consultation. We now await the outcome with interest!
Latest footpath news February 2018 - footpath closures.
From time to time it is necessary for the Highways Authority (Gwynedd Council) to close a right of way temporarily, usually for reasons of public safety or to enable works to be carried out. Temporary closure orders are made for 6 months but the closures are often in force for a much shorter period. If the closure is required beyond 6 months then the Highways Authority (Gwynedd Council) need to make an application to the Welsh Government. During the closure period there should be notices and a map on site advising of the closure and the alternative route(s). If you want further detailed information about any of the closures please contact me.
With effect from 1 January for a period not expected to exceed 6 months, footpath 35 will be closed from its junction with the A487 trunk road by Pont Evans (SH 755060) in a general west, north-west direction for approx 500 metres and then in a southerly direction for approx 300 metres to reach a forestry track (footpath no. 37) at SH 749060. The closure is to enable tree clearance work to be undertaken and unfortunately there is no alternative route available during the closure period.
With effect from 2 January for a period expected to exceed 3 months, footpath 46 which runs alongside Ffestiniog Railway will be closed between SH5837 3787 near the stone steps by the A497 (next to the Boston Lodge Railway Yard) to approx 120 metres to the west of the stone steps at SH5825 3792, . During the period of closure an alternative route will be available via the cycle path by the Cob and should be signed on site. The closure is necessary for health and safety reasons whilst engineering works in and around Boston Lodge are undertaken. UPDATE Jan 31st 2018. Having used this crossing today there is a new gate to use where the path meets the Ffestiniog Railway Line at Boston Lodge and no diversion was necessary although engineering works were underway and maybe diversions will operate at other times during the official closure period.
If you go over the bridge today you are in for a big surprise! Or at least that was the case recently. The old Toll House at the Barmouth end of the bridge is covered in posters and there is a shoot into the building inviting a donation (of £1.00) from the Bridge Troll. Having made enquiries with Gwynedd’s Coastal Path team they advise that this was believed to be the work of squatters who took over the Toll House for a time. I am not sure who is responsible for the Toll House (and removing the posters) but please do not a pay anything at this point since the ‘fees’ are not being collected legitimately.
Reporting Rights of Way problems - December 2017
We always encourage our members and other walkers to report any footpath problems that you find while out walking but you may wonder if, with Local Councils so hard pressed, reporting problems does any good. The answer is a resounding "yes", as shown by the before and after pictures below. While on a group walk near Llanfachreth in July, we came across a narrow, slithery path which was really difficult to negotiate. Now, thanks to prompt action by Gwynedd Council we have a safe and easy flight of steps.
So carry on sending in your reports, either directly to the Local Authority (in our case Gwynedd, see their website for information and reporting forms) or via myself. You can also use the Ramblers PathWatch system - there is information on the Ramblers website about how to download and use the easy PathWatch App. But if you prefer to go out with a pen and paper in your pocket, then make a note of the location of the problem (community and grid reference) and the details of the problem itself and let me have the information on your return - my email address is at the top of the page.
Gill Caves, Footpath Secretary