As the nation celebrates National Parks Week (25-31 July), National Trust rangers have called in helicopter support to carry out essential conservation work on footpaths on Corn Du, the second highest peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.
Over two days earlier this month a fuel-efficient SD2 Squirrel helicopter flew 160 tonnes of local sandstone to rangers on Corn Du. One tonne of this ‘scalping’ stone will cover around two metres of footpath.
An estimated 300,000 people visit National Trust places in the Brecon Beacons every year. By regularly repairing footpaths, rangers from the conservation charity help minimise soil erosion on the hill and prevent damage to the rare plants that grow on the hillside, such as Purple Saxifrage, the most southerly arctic-alpine plant in Britain.
The National Trust cares for over 3,300 hectares (8,200 acres) and 43 miles of path in the Welsh National Park, including southern Britain’s highest mountain, Pen-y-Fan.
Rob Reith, National Trust Lead Ranger, has been repairing paths in the Brecon Beacons for thirty years. He said: “Protecting the landscape from erosion caused by walkers and the weather takes time and money. We’re able to perform essential path maintenance thanks to the generosity of our volunteers and supporters.”
This week is National Parks Week (25 – 31 July), an annual celebration of Britain’s National Parks. The Brecon Beacons were designated a National Park in 1957, the third area in Wales to be awarded the status (after Snowdonia and the Pembrokeshire Coast). The Brecon Beacons National Park covers 520 square miles, larger than Britain’s three most populous cities – Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow – put together.