The footpaths of the Black Mountains get a makeover

The paths running over the Black Mountains range in the east of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park have received a much needed makeover, particularly in the popular destinations of picturesque Capel-y-ffin and the Llanthony Valley.

The area is popular with walkers of all ages and abilities but the dense network of paths can be hard to navigate. National Park Wardens have been busy putting in better waymarkers to help walkers find their way to places including Hatterrall Hill and onto the Beacons Way and the well-loved Offa’s Dyke National Trail that stretches the length of the border between Wales and England.

Repairs have also been made to the drainage on the mountain paths. Already worn paths become vulnerable to erosion by rain water so stone drains known as ‘water bars’ have been installed using stones found on the mountain. The bars are gulleys dug horizontally across the footpaths, ensuring rain water runs through and not along the paths. The Jones brothers from the Olchon Valley high up in the mountain range carried out the work, installing a total of thirty new drains. Their family have grazed sheep on the Black Mountains for generations and they are keen to protect the land from further damage. The National Park Upland Volunteer group will carry out maintenance work twice a year to ensure the new drains are kept clear.

Mr Edward Evans, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Member Champion for Agriculture and Land Management commented;  “With summer fast approaching, the network of rights of way across the National Park will become increasingly busy. These recent repairs and the addition of new signage funded by the Welsh Government’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan Funding Programme will allow visitors to navigate the area more easily and help tourism businesses suggest suitable walking routes for their guests.”