Monday, 11 March 2013

Our Rangers' Top 5 Access Issues

 by Richard Neale

Our Rangers do a great job in making sure that our paths and access facilities are well maintained.  Here our Ynys Mon Ranger, Bryn Jones talks to coast path walkers.
As a member of the Wales Access Forum, I report on issues that affect NT properties, be they positive or negative. 

To help prepare for the next meeting, I sent a quick email this morning to our Rangers around Wales. 

The answers were remarkably consistent, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Top 5 Access Issues on NT Land In Wales

  1. Mud & Erosion.  The second wettest year on record caused huge problems for our Rangers.  Dealing with complaints and working with local authorities to repair or divert eroded paths has soaked up countless days of work.  It appears that such extreme weather is happening more often – so may be an increasing problem.
  2. Dogs.  We’ve been kept very busy trying to resolve conflicts caused by out-of-control dogs.  Fouling problems and stock worrying have been reported from all our coastal areas.  An interesting solution is being looked into in Ceredigon – a volunteer dog (with handler) to monitor and explain the need for keeping dogs under control. 
  3. Multiple Uses, Gone is the time when paths were just used by walkers.  Our paths are becoming more popular with horse riders, cyclists and runners – as individuals or as part of organised events.  We welcome lawful multiple uses but much more time has to be spent by our Rangers dealing with enquiries and conflicts than used to be the case.
  4. Access for all.  Ensuring that ‘access furniture’ allows access to people of all abilities is an important priority for our Rangers.  They have noticed recently that wet weather can reduce accessibility on paths that are normally fine.
  5. Creating new access.  New routes are continually being developed to improve the experience of visiting our properties.  The Welsh Coast Path has resulted in a number of new sections of path, such as at Glan Faenol, Bangor and Aberdaron, Llŷn, which our Rangers have facilitated.

The bird hide on the banks of the Menai Strait at Glan Faenol.  Ranger John Whitley (pictured) has worked with the CCW to create a new section of the Wales Coast Path along this section of the Menai.

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