News from Glyndŵr's Way
It's now almost four years since I moved to Wales to take up the position of National Trail Officer for Glyndŵr's Way. My first walk along the Trail showed that it still needed some essential bridges and boardwalks installed if users were not to get very wet feet in some places. It is lucky then, that I have a fantastic resource available to me - the Powys County Council Countryside Volunteers. The team is led by Volunteer Coordinator Phil Stallard who works with groups of volunteers around Powys on different days of the week on all kinds of projects.
The volunteers carry out very high quality works which range from the installation of a pedestrian gate to the building of 12 metre bridges. I often ask them to do works in areas that are hard to access and which would be both difficult and costly for a contractor to take on. Another advantage of getting the volunteers to work for me is that I can have a day out with them, but I do have to provide some very good cake in return.
I asked the volunteers to help me build a bridleway bridge over a stream on Glyndŵr's Way far up above the Clywedog Reservoir. Our first problem was getting the materials, including the four large bridge beams to the site which is a kilometre and a half from the nearest road. Before we could go ahead some initial surface and drainage work had to be done by a contractor with a digger to improve the very boggy track and then the landowner took all our materials to the stream on his tractor and trailer. It wasn't possible to drive our fully loaded Landrover over the wet fields so we had to approach through the adjacent forestry and walk all our tools down the hill before we could start work.
The first job was to dig in a bridge bearer on each side of the stream to give us a good stable surface to fix the main beams to. Then the beams went across and were all tied together with steel rods. After that we bolted on the handrail supports and nailed on the decking and the structure really started to look like a bridge. Next came the handrails, finishing the approaches to the bridge and generally tidying up.
We took two days to complete the bridge but it was well worth it. Walkers and riders no longer have to wade the stream and the landowner likes it too as he can get his quad bike over it. As for me, it saves my budget as I only have to buy the materials and the cake!
The volunteers have now completed many projects for me but I still have a few up my sleeve for this year and the next so I am going to have to make sure there is still a goodly sum in the cake budget!
Helen Tatchell, National Trail Officer, Glyndŵr's Way