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Lost paths and missing signs challenge ramblers

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Stunning: From Ponterwyd to the distant coast

Stunning: From Ponterwyd to the distant coast

THE BIG PATHWATCH, the Ramblers’ most ambitious project ever to survey all rights of way in Wales and England, has highlighted paths shown on the map that people couldn’t find on the ground and missing signs as the top problems found on footpaths in West Wales so far.

Launched in July, the Big Pathwatch calls on members of the public to step out and walk their local paths and report back on what they find – be it problems or beautiful views – using the free Big Pathwatch smartphone app. Almost 14,000 people have signed up nationwide, reporting thousands of problems along the way. However, as the clock ticks towards the deadline on December 31, the picture across West Wales remains far from complete.

In Carmarthenshire, only 27% of the county has been surveyed, while in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion the picture is even less encouraging, with only 22% and 20% respectively having been surveyed. There is currently no national picture of the path network.

Using a consistent approach to collect data the Ramblers Cymru aims to compare highway authorities with one another and identify patterns, for example, whether there is a correlation between the areas with the greatest problems, and the areas with the greatest funding cuts.

The survey will also provide reliable data on the most frequently occurring path problems, which will help to inform future Ramblers campaigns. We also want to use this project to engage a wider audience and encourage more people to care about their local paths. Ramblers Cymru Director, Angela Charlton said: “The Big Pathwatch is the first time a survey on this scale has ever been conducted.

We’re delighted with the amount of support and positive feedback we’ve received, and want to say a big thank you to the people of Pembrokeshire who have taken part in the project so far by walking the paths they love.” Over 600 problems have been identified across the path networks in West Wales, with half of those in Carmarthenshire.

200 problems have been identified in Ceredigion and 130 in Pembrokeshire. Local authorities and Ramblers’ path maintenance volunteers are using the reports to help remedy identified problems. However, it is not all bad news. Across West Wales many positives have been reported, including welcoming signs, stunning view of the countryside and coast, and many interesting buildings.

Angela added: “We still have more to uncover, and we urgently need the help of people in Pembrokeshire to check the remaining 78% of grid squares in the area to complete the survey. It’s easy to take part – all you need to do is download our free smartphone app, take a walk and tell us what you find. “With your help, we’ll be able to create a full picture of the state of our rights of way network, and come up with the creative solutions to ensure that our paths stay open for everyone to enjoy.”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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