Paths to Wellbeing project creates 145 walking routes

Ramblers Cymru flagship project helps communities improve local nature and access


29 June 2023

Over the last two years the Ramblers Cymru flagship project, Paths to Wellbeing, has been working in 18 communities across Wales to get people out walking and enjoying their local area on foot.

They have created over 145 new routes all across Wales, including shorter family-friendly walks, encouraging people to discover walking from their doorsteps. They have also been working alongside the communities to equip volunteers with the skills and knowledge to continue to manage and improve paths and nature in their local areas. 

Ramblers Cymru director, Angela Charlton said: “The project was created to look at new ways to improve paths and access, as we estimate that around 50% of the paths (Public Rights of Way) in Wales are inaccessible. 

“We believe that the Paths to Wellbeing project model is the way forward and that we need to work with communities to help them take ownership of their local path network. Putting walking at the heart of the community can deliver so many benefits, from improved health and wellbeing to attracting visitors who can boost the local economy and linking communities to each other and their rich cultural heritage.” 

The 145 new walking routes, which are mostly family-friendly and include some areas that are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies (where possible), can be found and downloaded from the new Paths to Wellbeing website:  

The project has also delivered a lot of benefits to the communities it has worked in by hosting 55 training sessions and engaging with over 1,600 volunteers who have committed over 10,300 hours of their time to help with various activities. These include the installation of over 200 new gates, 138 new marker posts, and over 1,800 bespoke route markers, that have been designed by the community so that people can enjoy and navigate their walks easily.  

As well as the routes, which have already been explored over 140,000 times, the project has worked alongside partners such as Coed Cadw (The Woodland Trust in Wales) and the Wildlife Trusts Wales to improve nature by dedicating 33 days to invasive species removal, clearing over 15,000 meters of vegetation, installing over 200 new bird boxes and planting over native 3,850 trees.  

One of the Paths to Wellbeing volunteers in northeast Wales said: “It's brought members of the community together to discuss and understand about ownership of these footpaths. I think it's given them the awareness and understanding that these footpaths need to be walked and maintained and they have to take ownership of it.” 

Communities in the six regions across Wales who applied, and were accepted to take part in the project include:  

  • Northeast Wales - Clywedog Valley/Caia Park (Wrexham), Pwllglas/Graigfechan (Denbighshire), Llanfynydd (Flintshire)  

  • Northwest Wales - Holy Island (Ynys Môn), Penmaenmawr (Conwy), Penrhyndeudraeth (Gwynedd)  

  • Mid Wales - Llechryd (Ceredigion), Penparcau (Ceredigion), Llanwrthwl and Rhayader (Powys)   

  • Southeast Wales - Grosmont (Monmouthshire), Maindee (Newport), Six Bells (Abertillery)   

  • Southwest Wales - Brynberian (Pembrokeshire), Llanybydder (Carmarthenshire), Ystalyfera (Swansea)  

  • South Central Wales - Creigiau, Pentyrch and Gwaelod-y-Garth (Cardiff), Treherbert (Rhondda Cynon Taf), Coity Higher (Bridgend) 

Ramblers Cymru’s, Paths to Wellbeing project manager, Hannah Wilcox-Brooke said: “It has been an incredibly rewarding project to manage. From the very start we had so much interest from communities wanting to be involved and the enthusiasm of the volunteers and communities involved has made a really big difference locally.  

“We hope that we have also played a small part in bringing these communities together post-lockdown and empowered them to really own their local spaces. paths.” 

This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.