Its Spring on the Trail

23rd April 2015

Great to be out of the office on such a great spring day, and a list of things to do here on the northern section of Trail in Powys ( Montgomeryshire ). As part of my role as Trail officer I am responsible for all the practical works on the route in Powys, which has the longest section of Trail of all the 8 Managing Authorities.

My day started in the fabulous Vale of Kerry, with a landowner visit to discuss the removal of three stiles and replacing them with gates. As always things are never simple as one of the stiles was not his but actually on his brothers land, but the outcome was positive, three less stiles on the route once works has been done later in the year. This will also look good on my quality standards report at the end of the year, as we report on stile removal.

Next I drop into Kerry Vale Vineyard, which has a shop and café and is only 200 yards from the trail to drop of some of my new Trail leaflets. It was good to meet the owners as we follow each other on twitter. Its really good to meet and make contact with such services along the route and during our chat, they said they were thinking of maybe putting up a few camping pods on there land and whether I thought it would be welcomed by Trail walkers. Where they are located is ideal as its at a natural over night stopping point after the hardest section of the Trail from Knighton if walking from the south.  Will see how things progress here , but will be great to see some camping pods at this location.

I next head up into Leighton Woods to check out some works that had been done and get some way marking done. One of Leighton Woods claims to fame is that it was the birthplace of the much disparaged hybrid cupressocyparis leylandii hedge tree. Spring was definitely evident in the sunny woodland rides with tortoise shell butterflies being very active, but not stopping long enough to be photographed.

Beacon Ring my next stop, an Iron Age Hill fort high above the Severn Valley. I have had a few issues reported south of here of missing waymarking and people going a bit of route. Sure enough some discs had been removed and quite an important point, with large field to cross, so I could see where walkers had been going wrong. We also had an issue with cropping here last year, so just wanted to check what the situation was this year. The field has been freshly cultivated but at the moment difficult to tell whether its back in corn or is a newly drilled grass ley, will need to re-visit in a month or so to check again.

Have just had a new interpretation panel installed at Beacon Ring itself, as part of the Walking with Offa project , but had not seen it in situ yet. While there, I meet and had a chat to two walkers heading up from the south, turned out to be an Australian couple from Adelaide walking the whole trail over 14 days. Good photo opportunity for me, for social media and good to here that they had a good time and weather so far on the route and they commented on how well the trail was waymarked. Its always good to get this sort of face to face contact and comments from walkers while actually out on the Trail.

Heading north my next visit was to the Village Pantry in Llanymynech, a café and tea shop just under new management who wanted to engage with the Trail and its users a bit more. They had already listed themselves on the services page of the website and wanted some leaflets and trail poster for there café. The café is only a couple 100 yards of the Trail alongside the Montgomery canal, and again its very important to have these services for our walkers along the route.

The final stop of the day was at the Nea, just south of Four Crosses, to check and waymark another new gate on the route. This final stop just proved again that Spring was really upon us, in just a couple 100 yard walk along the Trail, I spotted over 10 species of flowers all out in bloom, a great end to a productive day on the Trail.

I think the above shows just what a varied job a Trail Officer has. 

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