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.
You may remember some time ago a paragraph on this page about “Lost Ways”. These are old established paths which might still be in frequent use by the public but which are not (for whatever reason) recorded on the council's Definitive Map and Statement. These paths may be lost forever if they are not properly recorded before the deadline. In England the deadline is January 2026; the Welsh Assembly Government has yet to clarify whether the cut-off date will apply in Wales, but in the meantime we should work on the assumption that it will. Ramblers are keen to ensure that we don’t lose our old paths and have been providing training and support to help volunteers in researching them and restoring them to the records. They have recently appointed a project manager, Jack Cornish, to help take this work forward. You can find out all about the project on the Don't Lose Your Way page of the Ramblers website.
Meanwhile, do you know if the paths you use are actually recorded on the definitive map? It would be good to have as many of our members as possible double checking that the paths and roads they walk are on the definitive map. We’ve noticed a few critical little gaps, which could become a problem if access was barred. There are also various 'white roads', tracks which people may assume are public roads but which are not recorded as such nor as rights of way. It’s worth checking, or you may find in a few years’ time, the landowner can legally stop you from using these paths and roads.
Latest footpath news August 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.
1. Tanygrisiau Power Station, Blaenau Ffestiniog
A number of footpaths in the vicinity of the power station at Tanygrisiau are subject to temporary closures. Stretches of Footpaths numbered 4, 91 and 93 will be affected from time to time. (Footpath 4 runs alongside the lake on the NW side; footpath 93 runs WSW from the N end of the lake towards the Stwlan dam and footpath 91 follows the dam’s service road.) The closures are necessary for public safety reasons whilst works to replace cabling to the power station, which will require large trenches to be dug, are undertaken. During the periods of closure, which is likely to be until 20 December, the diversion is to utilise Footpath number 83 on the SE side of the lake. To facilitate the works, the Power Station car park will be extended for use by contractors' vehicles.
Due to tree clearance work along the A487 near Corris, there is a closure in place on Footpath no 35 between grid references SH 755060 and SH 749600 (on the hillside to the west of the A487, roughly opposite Ceinws). The closure is likely to be in place for the remainder of 2018 and due to the nature of the work being carried out in the area, there is no alternative route available.
Some paths in the area around Porthmeirion will be closed between 3rd and 16th September whilst preparations for Festival 6 take place and during the festival itself. Please observe closure notices which should be in place on site and which will also give information about available alternative routes.
Other footpath News
It is understood that at a meeting on 25 June, Gwynedd Councillors approved the inclusion on the definitive map of the path that runs in front of the properties at Mawddach Crescent but details of when this will be recorded as a right of way open to all walkers are awaited. Watch this space!
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.
Before the end of the year we hope to be able to set up a day working alongside Gwynedd staff and contractors to make improvements to some paths in the Talsarnau area. If you wish to be involved in this please contact me. The work is expected to be clearance of vegetation. All tools are provided and you can come along for the whole day or just an hour or two.
Reporting Rights of Way problems
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