1. ITV Report

Tourist numbers grow in the Beacons prompting urgent footpath campaign

The National Trust has launched a campaign to help repair footpaths in the Brecon Beacons.

The trust says the number of visitors to the area has doubled in the past five years.

Credit: National Trust

The charity is embarking on essential footpath work ahead of what it predicts will be the busiest tourist season ever.

The Trust has cared for the central Brecon Beacons for 30 years, and spends around £100,000 each year maintaining footpaths. They're now asking for more funds to repair erosion ahead of the huge influx of visitors set to descend on the area this spring.

Credit: National Trust

Lead Ranger Rob Reith started working for the Trust in 1986, and has been at the helm of footpath repair work for the past 30 years.

It’s fantastic the area is so popular with visitors, who experience the stunning outdoors and enjoy the challenge posed by one of our best loved peaks.

But with popularity comes wear and tear.

Judging by recent figures, it looks like 2018 could be the most popular year ever for fell-walking in the Brecon Beacons, and we need to make sure the paths are in the best possible condition to accommodate that.

– Rob Reith, Lead Ranger

If work isn't carried out, the visitor footfall, combined with the changeable weather, would cause erosion, widening the paths. In the past this has created scars 30-40 meters wide with the loss of vegetation and 1000’s of tonnes of soil.

Credit: National Trust

Since the Trust started looking after the area three decades ago, the charity has created over 15km of stone-pitched paths and 400m of drainage ditches.

We have a massive responsibility to look after these areas for people to enjoy and to benefit nature.

To do this, we are reliant on public support alongside our dedicated staff and volunteers.

Campaigns such as this help to shed a light on some of the challenges we face and why this work is so important.

– Joe Daggett, Countryside Manager, National Trust in Brecon