January 26, 2022

Airlift support flies in new-look path over Ruabon Moor

A Helicopter has given a much needed lift to work on a key section of one of Wales’ most popular paths.

Contractors working for the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB have been busy repairing a key section of the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail as it crosses Ruabon Moor.

As part of the project, over 250 tonnes of reclaimed stone flags were airlifted onto the moor.

A helicopter was used to lift in materials to this remote site as an alternative to vehicles, which would have had far more damaging impact upon the fragile habitats found at the moor.

Making Trax, specialist contractors with over 30 years of experience in undertaking high quality access works in remote, sensitive areas undertook the improvement works.

The AONB managed to secure funding for the work through Natural Resources Wales who oversee the management of the Welsh National Trails.

Small sections of the Trail have been upgraded each year since 2016, but with this additional funding over 850 metres of path has been resurfaced to complete the 1.4km of path across the moor.

Rhun Jones, a Countryside Ranger based in the Dee Valley, said: “In the early 1990’s, reclaimed railway sleepers were installed here to provide users with safe passage over this sensitive habitat. Being a remote Welsh moorland at around 1500 feet, the area gets plenty of rain. This, coupled with the peaty, boggy ground, made navigating the Trail quite a task.

“The sleepers which currently make up the majority of this section of the National Trail, have started to rot and have passed their sell-by date. By replacing them with stone flags, we will lay down a more sustainable and natural walking surface, which will benefit users of the Offa’s Dyke National Path for years to come.”

Cllr Tony Thomas, Lead Member for Housing and Communities and the Chair of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Joint Committee, added: “This is a fantastic project that will significantly benefit users of the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail as it crosses this important moorland which is internationally renowned for its wildlife. It is home to over 70 percent of the Welsh Black grouse population and species such as curlew and red grouse thrive here too.

“By providing a flagged stone path, befitting of a National Trail, the area’s many visitors will be able to enjoy this dramatic landscape safe in the knowledge that they will not be damaging the precious moorland. Not only that, its fragile soils will be better placed to play a key role to help us through absorbing and storing more carbon.”