WALKERS have been told that it is not possible to introduce a footpath on a road between two Powys villages described as “highly dangerous”, because of a lack of funding.

Locals say there is a need for a footpath along a dangerous section of the B4358 Newbridge-on-Wye to Beulah road because it services two popular walking trails – the Wye Valley Walk and Heart of Wales Line Trail.

However, the local authority says that there are 12,000 individual public rights of way in Powys and they cannot justify the introduction of a highway path.

Powys County Council has confirmed though that it will add the route to a list of potential projects they maintain and use for bidding for grants, that enable paths to be created or improved, so a path could be constructed in the future.

County Times:  The B4358 between Newbridge and Beulah The B4358 between Newbridge and Beulah (Image: Fred Slater)

“There are few places in Brecon and Radnorshire where multiple long-distance walks are serviced by the same section of road,” said local resident Fred Slater.

“An exception to this is where, for about a kilometre, both the Wye Valley Walk and the Heart of Wales Line Trail follow the B4358 out of Newbridge towards Beulah.

“This is a mainly derestricted road where vehicles travel at high speed towards Newbridge down the Estyn pitch and motorbikes, in particular, accelerate to high speeds away from the village.

“Once you cross the Wye bridge there is no footpath and the verge is not useable for pedestrians, so everyone is forced to walk in the road, which is, to say the least, highly dangerous. Indeed, a health and safety risk assessment by Powys County Council would probably find the risk unacceptable.

“As the county council signpost and advertise this as a walking route, it is incumbent upon them to provide safe access along this section of road, certainly in terms of health and safety regulations.

“What is required is a maintained pathway along the generally wide verge on this section of the B4358 west from the turn for Llysdinam to the signpost where the two trails leave the highway.

“This should be reinforced by a ‘beware pedestrians’ road sign at either end of this section.

“I would urge Powys County Council to act upon this dangerous situation as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “We have over 12,000 individual public rights of way in Powys and the majority do link to county roads.

“We do not risk assess every location where pedestrians may need to travel along a county road to reach a public path.


“There are already responsibilities in the Highway Code which give greater protection to road users by level of vulnerability; walkers now receive the highest priority, being considered the most vulnerable followed by cyclists, horse riders and non-motorised vehicles.

“It is incumbent on those driving motor vehicles to drive with due care and attention to more vulnerable road users, whether there is a surfaced footway or not. 

“We are not able to justify this as a highway path as it is not within an active travel settlement and, as a leisure route, does not meet the Welsh Governments criteria for active travel which expressly excludes leisure routes as active travel is for purposeful journeys such as journeys to work, school or shops.

“However, the countryside access and recreation team has added the route to a list of potential projects that they maintain and use for bidding for grants, that enables paths to be created or improved, for example, with a stone surface.

“If we are successful in the future at obtaining a grant then we will be able to construct the stone path in this location.”