The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is on the hunt for volunteers to help maintain footpaths in one of the most popular areas of the National Park.
The Black Mountains Upland Volunteers Scheme needs helpers to undertake routine surveys and maintenance on upland paths in the Black Mountains. Volunteers will also be encouraged to involve themselves in one or two larger projects per year as a group.
A similar scheme has been operating in the Lake District for some time, and the Beacons National Park hope to replicate this success. In the ongoing climate of public sector cutbacks and increasing reliance on unpaid volunteers, can we expect to see more such initiatives in our National Parks?
The scheme is designed to become largely self sustaining following its initial inception, they say. And while Brecon Beacons National Park Authority will be responsible for the co-ordination of the project and handling the ongoing costs of tools, training and materials, volunteers will be encouraged to be self reliant and work mainly in pairs once training has been completed.
To help with this, volunteers will receive training in mountain and environmental awareness, path surveying and repair techniques, manual handling, health and safety risk assessment and first aid.
Richard Ball, Access Officer for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:
'The upland paths in the Black Mountains are amongst some of the most popular routes in the whole of our National Park – and that's why it is important that we look after them properly. After training, volunteers will have a vital role to play in ensuring that not only are the paths up to scratch, but that we're tackling the effects of erosion wherever possible.'
'Volunteers already play an important part across the Authority's work, and I'm sure their valued time in assisting with this project will reap benefits for many years to come.'
This partnership project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is supported by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and match funded by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.
For more info or to take part contact Huw Price by email or tel 01874 620451