MORE than 400 tonnes of crushed stone will be airlifted to a remote section of Hay Bluff this week in order to resurface the popular footpath between Hay-on-Wye and Pandy.
With the eroded sections located up to two miles from the nearest road – and at around 670 metres above sea level – helicopters will fly the stone up in one tonne loads.
A well-trodden tourist route, around 3,200 metres of Offas Dyke Path will be resurfaced by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority with help from the Black Mountains Uplands volunteers.
Richard Ball, access officer for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said: “Changeable weather conditions, the remote location and the altitude meant that using a helicopter was the most appropriate option.
“The area is important economically in terms of farming and tourism, and, whilst this also brings important income to the area, it also costs money to ensure that it is protected and maintained.”
Most of the upland habitats of the Black Mountains are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and Mr Ball insisted that special care will be taken not to damage the area while work is completed.
In addition the stone used has been specially selected because of its durability and compatibility with the existing stone along the footpath.
Margaret Underwood, member champion for biodiversity for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said: “It is very important that people can enjoy their walks and take in the wonderful views without damaging the special qualities of the place.
“Offers Dyke Path is internationally famous, people love walking it and that means many feet wearing away the path surface. “
The work is being funded by Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.
If you are interested in joining the Black Mountains Upland Volunteers project please contact Jason Rees on 01874 620484 or email Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org .