ALMOST 200 tonnes of stone was helicoptered hundreds of metres high up to one of Powys’ most visited beauty spots earlier this month.

The vast amount of stone was transported via the air in order to help solidify the main paths of Pen y Fan and Corn Du.

With Pen y Fan, the second highest peak in the southern UK, visited by over half a million walkers every year, and numbers more than doubling in the last five years, it’s no surprise that footpaths suffer erosion and need to be maintained.

Every year it costs around £100,000 in constructing and maintaining the footpath network in the central Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog, with every metre of footpath on the increasingly popular Pen y Fan route costing over £300 to repair.

“With over half a million people venturing up southern Britain's highest peak, Pen y Fan, each year, it's no surprise that the mountain endures constant wear and tear and requires regular repairs to keep it in tip-top shape,” said the National Trust Brecon Beacons and Monmouthshire in a post on its Facebook page.

“A much-anticipated spell of dry weather earlier this month allowed a helicopter to airlift over 180 tonnes of stone onto the main Pen y Fan and Corn Du path; a huge helping-hand to our ranger team who had the tough task of spreading the stone where it was needed.

“Each square metre of footpath on the increasingly popular route costs over £300 to repair and the battle to combat erosion to the landscape is ongoing.

“With funds made from the introduction of car park charges at Pont ar Daf directly contributing towards maintaining the 70km of paths we care for in the central Beacons.”

Back in the 1980s, before rangers started repairing the footpaths, the slopes of Pen y Fan were covered with vast erosion scars.


Since then, the team has embarked on an ambitious programme of upland path repair. They’ve created 15km of stone pitched paths within the 70km footpath network that criss-crosses the central Brecon Beacons, built 400 drainage ditches, introduced 500 culverts and re-vegetated an area as large as 30 football pitches.

In recent years, there’s been an increase in walkers so there’s an urgent need to repair additional sections of footpath.

The National Trust re-launched the Brecon Beacons fundraising appeal campaign to carry out this essential work in what may be the busiest tourist season ever in the Brecon Beacons.

The region’s team of rangers and volunteers use traditional techniques to maintain and protect this living landscape to ensure that everyone can enjoy their visit.

The paths are constructed using a traditional method called stone pitching, which has been in use since Roman times. Individual stones are placed upright in the ground and stabilised by being packed tightly with smaller stones and soil.

Once the path is constructed, the surrounding areas are landscaped, banks sloped and the whole area re-vegetated.

If you’re passionate about the Brecon Beacons and want to help maintain the footpaths leading to Pen y Fan, you can do so by donating to the Brecon Beacons appeal.

To learn more about their work and donate, visit

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