Path Accessibility Fund: Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd

Installing self-closing gates helped make sure more people can enjoy this scenic part of north-west Wales

Gill Caves, the group footpath secretary and path maintenance team leader for Meirionnydd Ramblers, applied to the Path Accessibility Fund in 2023. 

Although she was aware of many stiles that needed to be replaced with accessible gates in the local area, she wasn’t sure which were priorities for the local highway authority, Gwynedd County Council,  and which had landowner permission. 

So she reached out to the local rights of way team who suggested a couple of projects where landowner permission had been granted, but the necessary funds were not yet in place to go ahead with the work. After looking through the suggestions, Gill picked her project: replacing two, rotten step stiles with self-closing gates, helping remove a major barrier to access particularly for those with reduced mobility.    

Not only were these stiles rotten and practically impassable for even the most mobile walker, they were also in a burgeoning tourist area, popular with walkers of all ages. As Gill explains:    

"The paths are in the vicinity of the Talyllyn heritage railway and near to the village of Abergynolwyn which has a slate heritage. The area has also recently been promoted as part of the award to Blaenau Ffestiniog as a World Heritage Site so is an increasingly popular area to walk in by locals and tourists.” 

After her application to the Path Accessibility Fund was successful, Meirionnydd Ramblers were awarded a grant of £1080.  

Three people fixing a new gate in a field

Armed with the funding to secure all the necessary materials, volunteers set to work removing the stiles and installing the gates. And with several pairs of hands, the job was soon finished. But the volunteers from Meirionydd Ramblers didn’t stop there. While out in the area, they set about making improvements to other local paths, fixing a field catch, installing new marker posts and cutting back overhanging vegetation.  

Once completed, the project was not just welcomed by local walkers – it was also came in for praise from the local council. In an article covering the installation, the Cambrian News, the local newspaper, quoted a spokesperson for Gwynnedd Council who said:  

“This is a great example of partnership working between Cyngor Gwynedd and Meirionnyd Ramblers.  It was a positive day for all and it’s satisfying to see how much can be achieved when everyone pulls together”. 

Uttlesford Ramblers walking on a grass path, tree-lined on one side with two dogs along for company.

Path Accessibility Fund: Little Sampford, Essex 

By working in partnership with the parish council and a local volunteer group, Utttlesford Ramblers transformed a popular walking route in north Essex.

People standing behind a new path gate in a field.

Path Accessibility Fund: Romsey, Hampshire

In Hampshire, local Ramblers volunteers helped create a new accessible route around Michelmersh with support from the Path Accessibility Fund.