Snowdonia Footpaths: Help wanted!

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 23/08/2022
The head of Cwm Cywarch. Photo: Nigel Brown

The BMC in partnership with Snowdonia National Park are arranging a last-minute two-day event to carry out innovative footpath repair work across a peat bog on Aran Fawddwy in South Snowdonia on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th of September.

Apologies - the BMC has just been notified on Friday Sept 2nd, by Snowdonia National Park, that due to unforseen circumstances that this event has to be postponed. A new date will be circulated when more details are available. 

The BMC has in the past been understandably critical of some of the work carried out in upland areas of Wales, but this an opportunity for BMC members to put something back and get involved with the National Park to help protect this remote and stunning area above Cwm Cywarch.

What’s involved on Sept 7th and 8th?

The main path from Cwm Cywarch to the summit of Aran Fawddwy, which at 905m (2969ft) is the highest peak in the old county of Meirionydd, and is only a few feet short of the magical 3000ft height, crosses an extensive peat bog called Waun Camddwr.  The path at this point crosses an extensive and important area of peatland, and in the past a wooden boardwalk was in place to enable this. This boardwalk has deteriorated badly and is now rotting into the peat bog, and with funds obtained as part of a wider regional plan to protect the important peatland in this area, the intention is to replace this decaying boardwalk with a floating aggregate path. The work is innovative, as the intention is to trial a technique using local sheep wool from the farm at the base of the mountain, as a base to “float” the path across the peat bog.

READ MORE: Why bother with bogs?

By now, most people are aware of the importance of protecting and conserving peat bogs and the role these important habitats and the sphagnum mosses found in these bogs play in helping to combat climate change.

BMC volunteers are required for two days, on Wednesday Sept 7th and Thursday Sept 8th,  to dig up, cut up and stack the decaying wooden boardwalk, so that they can then be removed from the site in anticipation of the aggregate path being constructed this autumn.

The BMC is really keen to both give members the opportunity to get involved in this work and also to demonstrate that as climbers, walkers and mountaineers we care enough about these special places and are willing to “put something back” to help protect them.  Due to the nature of the funding and the logistics of the work, this has had to be organised at very late notice.

READ MORE: Cambrian Mountains - Area of outstanding natural beauty

The BMC, through its Crag and Upland Restoration Fund is fully supporting the costs of involved in those who want to volunteer to help for these two days, including a contribution towards your food, an evening meal in the local pub on arrival on the 6th, some of the travel costs and two nights accomodation at a club hut, arriving on the evening of Tuesday Sept 6th, and departing on the evening of the 8th. The base will be Bryn Hafod, the amazingly situated mountain hut, owned and managed by The Mountain Club of Stafford, and located at the head of Cwm Cywarch. The intention is that those attending can spend a day (or two half days if that suits people) carrying out the work, leaving the remaining time free to climb or walk or simple relax to explore or in this wonderful setting.  Local National Park staff and wardens will be around to supervise the work and will also be able to give a unique insight to the history and culture of this area (including tales of the infamous “Gwylltiad Cochion”, the so-called red bandits of Mawddwy!).

How To Get Involved

Places are limited to 10 people so please get in touch with Tim Jepson (Chair of BMC Cymru North) as soon as possible to get involved. You do not have to stay at the hut and day volunteering is also welcome if you live nearby or only have one day to spare.

If you are interested in joining us, or if you want more information, please send an email, to timjepson@phonecoop.coop or send a message through the BMC Cymru Facebook page.

READ: Labour of love: what it takes to be a mountain path repairer



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