With over 10 million visitors each year Snowdonia’s footpaths are always glad of some TLC and our volunteers are on hand to lend a hand. Snowdon itself, the highest mountain in England and Wales and a honey pot site, attracts around half a million walkers each year. Such a high number of visitors is great for the local economy, however there are other implications to consider…
Each visitor to Snowdon causes a small amount of footpath erosion, so the combined effects of so many walkers over the years quickly adds up. As a result, footpaths may become flooded meaning that people venture off the path – a dangerous exercise for both themselves and the environment.
- Important upland habitats are trampled by walkers venturing off the path.
- Mountain Rescue team are called out to many a lost walker, this has serious implications for peoples safety (both walkers and rescuers) as well as a monetary cost associated with it.
- Footpath maintenance costs time and money
- In some places some visitors leave more than footprints – leading to localised but significant litter problems.
What our volunteers do to help!
The Snowdonia Society works with Snowdonia National Park Authority to systematically maintain the footpaths on Snowdon. We have worked on the PYG and Miners tracks, as well as heading to both Rhyd Ddu and the Llanberis path. Tasks include:
- Drain digging/ clearance; to encourage water off the path
- Cairn removal
- Footpath reconstruction; moving stones back into place
- Litter picking; (check out our Snowdon Tidy Project for more information on our litter picking work)
- Clearance of small rocks and gravel; to make the paths less slippery and improve drainage
On this occasion, volunteers play an important part in an ecosystem approach, their work means:
- Footpaths stay in good condition, meaning walkers are less likely to stray from the path (benefiting upland habitats as well as aiding people to enjoy Snowdon safely).
- Thanks to the number of man hours volunteers generously donate, money is saved e.g. for Snowdonia National Park Authority. At a time of change, when cuts are being made this is more important than ever.