Following a period of strong winds and heavy rain, staff from Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority spent three days co-ordinating an airlift of 200 tonnes of stone to Bwlch Giedd Path at an altitude of 700 metres. Twenty tonnes of stone was also airlifted onto Offa’s Dyke National Trail to be used in the improvement works currently in progress there.
Bwlch Giedd Path – a footpath that leads to the highest peak of the Black Mountain, Fan Brycheiniog – was identified as being in poor condition and in desperate need of repair in a 2006 survey of upland paths in the National Park. With two landslips already reported in the area, the restoration of the path became even higher priority to overcome the effect of erosion largely caused by a combination of heavy rainfall and walkers who come to enjoy the dramatic landscape.
Richard Ball, Access Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said: “The Bwlch Giedd path is on an extremely steep slope with very steep cross slopes and we had to wait for perfect weather conditions to allow Airborne Solutions to fly materials to site.
“Bwlch Giedd Path is strategically important because it allows access onto the tops from the Old Trecastle road and Llyn y Fan Fawr. If this section of path were to become impassable it would also require a major realignment of the Beacons Way (of which it is part) and would reduce the public access options of people wanting to walk to the Black Mountain.
“Now that the stone is on site, an experienced team from path repair specialists, Arcanthus, will be carrying out conservation works on this path and will complete works by the end of March.
“Both the works on the Bwlch Giedd path and Offa’s Dyke National Trail were identified as high priority in the draft Upland Erosion Strategy that identified the need for over £3 million worth of erosion control works in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.”
The works have been funded with support from CCW, the Welsh Assembly Government, Natural England and Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority.