Author Topic: Footpath maintenance  (Read 630 times)

fernman

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Footpath maintenance
« on: 11:17:33, 01/01/21 »
A piece in this morning's Guardian which starts out with a bit of a clickbait headline and photo contains accounts of the pressures the national parks faced during 2020 lockdown, particularly the littering, but what really caught my attention were some very interesting comments by the chief exec. of Snowdonia National Park, Emyr Williams. To quote the article,

"The dilemma for the park authorities is whether to encourage visitors to spread out or to stay in the same honeypots. In Snowdonia, Williams prefers the latter approach, continuing to funnel people towards Snowdon.....  He described Snowdon as more of an attraction than a mountain, and prefers to keep most people there, to leave the quieter areas of the park to 'serious mountaineers and fell walkers'.
"It’s cheaper and more sustainable to keep most people in the same place, says Williams: “If you dissipate 600,000 people around all the other massifs, the erosion would be quite substantial. So it’s more cost-effective to repair the footpaths on Snowdon, in terms of pence per person.”

Personally I'm all for leaving the quieter areas of SNP to serious mountaineers and fell walkers  :) but it was the economics of path repair that intrigued me, for I've never heard it put that way before.
The full article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/01/the-litter-was-a-shock-2020-covid-rush-on-uk-national-parks

Pyramut

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #1 on: 12:35:27, 01/01/21 »
I think I would agree with Williams, it probably helps mountain rescue too having to just focus on one mountain for the majority of the time. It means that there’s a range of things for people to do outdoors, from the big “attractions” to the wilder paths.


I do sometimes think there can be a bit of hypocrisy from hikers who want to keep areas very quiet though, as it’s like when you are stuck in traffic - you are traffic! That is, no individual has greater rights when walking over land than someone else, and having it to themselves. But people should be taking their litter with them, avoiding damage to areas etc. which becomes worse when there are crowds.

Ridge

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #2 on: 12:36:43, 01/01/21 »
Makes sense. They will always have to be doing path maintenance on Snowdon, why also have to spend money doing the same thing elsewhere and for people who take their walking a little more seriously* we are likely to find quieter areas to enjoy.


*that's not the right word but you know what I mean.

richardh1905

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #3 on: 12:46:55, 01/01/21 »
There is some logic in that approach. Mind you, Tryfan and the Glyders are pretty popular too.
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Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #4 on: 17:05:47, 01/01/21 »
The thing that really surprised me, when attempting the Llafar Horseshoe several weeks ago, was the fresh grass sprouting up over the horrid scar left by the walkers.
On the Pen Llithrig Y Wrach side, it was very pronounced, and all because nature was allowed to return to normality.

Encouraging visitors to leave the paths, thus starting new erosion, is a bit senseless.

I will always remember a photograph shown me, by Chris Barber, the owner of Blorenge Books in Llanfoist, near Abergavenny.

On recollection, i think the photograph was taken in the early 1950s, by his father, and it showed the mountainside leading from below Cribyn to the summit of Pen Y Fan.

No sign of any erosion, and the entire plateau from Corn Ddu to Pen Y Fan was grass covered mountainside.

There's the inevitability of millions of feet hitting the exact same ground, year on year.

Such path erosion can only be managed, and can never revert back to as nature intended.

shortwalker

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #5 on: 18:29:15, 01/01/21 »
But it isn't just a problem at Snowdon, most footpaths are suffering from this. I said on another thread about the issues some farmers etc. face where the footpaths have been "extended" by people moving out from the footpath as it gets muddy etc. 
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Booga

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #6 on: 11:06:20, 03/01/21 »
In areas where path maintenance can be quite expensive and involved (stone slabs, steps, drainage etc) this sort of approach makes sense. I'd take a guess that a not insignificant portion of visitors to Snowdon are casual visitors attracted by it's status as the highest peak in Wales and the fact that there are facilities, and who may not visit other hills anyway. (to quote Emyr, "It's more of an attraction than a mountain").


rural roamer

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #7 on: 13:44:03, 04/01/21 »
We walked up Snowdon on an early May bank holiday Monday. It was planned for later in the week after the crowds had left,  but the weather was glorious and rain and mist was forecast for the rest of the week. We walked the Rhydd dhu and Snowdon Ranger paths which weren’t too busy but at the top and looking down the other busier paths, were packed. We couldn’t head down quick enough. In contrast the walk we had done the day before, a glorious bank holiday Sunday, we hardly saw a soul, this was Moel Hebog, yr Ogof and Lefn. So from that experience, everyone does head for Snowdon. If I went back I know which walk I would do again and it’s not Snowdon!

richardh1905

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Re: Footpath maintenance
« Reply #8 on: 14:54:36, 04/01/21 »
Moel Hebog, yr Ogof and Lefn.


A great walk over characterful hills.
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