Sorry for the mud

In late November we Layed down 50 m of sandstone soil on top of the path on Storey Arms; the aim was to build up the path, slowing down the erosion rate. However I was rather hoping the weather was going to be cold and dry, instead it was constant rain, making the path boggy up to your ankles. When you hire a digger several weeks in advance you can not predict the weather. Sorry to all those who tried to walk through that muck, it did harden up after about 3 weeks.

Storey arms path coverd with soil

We have Layed down 30m of sandstone scalping’s and dust on the Pont-ar-Daf footpath creating a hard compact surface, this path was easier to drive up and drop off the scalping’s. The Storey Arms path would require a helicopter because the ground is mainly peat and breaks up very easily, neither could we get our vehicles much further than the river due to the steep climb up.
We have transported a further 32 tons of scalping’s up the Skirrid mountain, near to the town of Abergavenny and will spread them onto the path leading up through the woods towards the summit.

The maintenance of the footpaths continues through this winter period thanks to our lengths group and volunteers from a health group based in Pontypridd and we also have a new full time volunteer to assist me, Laurence, who once a week enjoys running up and down Pen-y-Fan after work in the dark.

We have taken the chance to have a few days of the mountains and go south towards Cardiff where we where pulling out willow trees from a wetland, so basically we still got wet, but it was a lot warmer.

Whilst we wait to hear what funding we’ll get in the New Year for our upland path work, we’ll be mostly in the east.  A few more easy access gates at Clytha to replace stiles and old gates as well as a bit of maintenance catch-up on the paths.  Also an opportunity to extend some of the boardwalk on the Skirrid.

Will finish with a picture from the archive, this one showing the saddle between Pen-y-Fan, heading towards Corn Du.  Taken in the late 1960’s, it looks quite unvisited, with none of the paths you see today.

View of Corn Du coming down the path from Pen-y-Fan.  Taken some time in the late 1960's.

View of Corn Du coming down the path from Pen-y-Fan. Taken some time in the late 1960’s.

Happy Christmas,
Rob and the access team.


It’s hotting up

As you may have read last time, we were just embarking on fencing some of the dingles, the little wooded valleys, on our farms in the Tarell Valley.  In this time we have had some good wildlife sightings, incuding kingfishers on the river, lizards in old walls, frogs under rocks and this moth.  Although it may not be an amazing rare find, it was still impressive .  This night flyer was brushed from its perch as we fenced and spent the rest of the day on the tractor.

As part of our fencing work we have been replacing some of the stiles on the Tarell Valley walk with kissing gates.  Our most recent batch of gates has been made by Year 9 pupils from Ysgol Maesydderwen in Ystradgynlais.  The students built them as part of an industry day to experience the activities of a countryside warden.

August is now looking busy for the woodlands team as we pack-up and move to the Gower to help the property team down there prepare for the building of the new Lodge at Cwm Ivy.  We’ll be taking our specialist machinery to help deal with the handling of large trees.  Hopefully we’ll get you some pictures, but for now, here is the Gower blog page with more on the Lodge.

And finally, to top it all off, we are making preparations to our Garden Take-away that will be appearing at this years Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons.  The festival is from the 18th-22nd August.  It’s all sold –out now, but if you managed to get tickets, come say hello and find out just what it is that we are serving up.

The woodland team.