As Wick Wanderers had offered Valeways our services in doing a bit of path-clearing each year, we decided it was time to do our twice-yearly session going around a couple of lanes easily overgrown in the vicinity of Llampha. Our first such visit had been in September 2018, so we were unsure just what to expect at the end of springtime. We had something of a surprise!
In spite of about half a dozen apologies, we nonetheless had 10 people turn up, with appropriate tools and gloves. The first bit was easy! We parked near Wallas farm and enjoyed a stroll along the road until the pond and stile came into view. Here we had to take considerable care as there seemed to be a lot of stones hidden under the grass, but after this we were plain sailing across a pleasant grassy field to a newly installed kissing gate. Once all through, we were met with the path being “blocked” by very tall (and lovely looking!) barley planted right up to the field edges, so our only way round was by scrambling along the very edge, a bit precarious at times, but we made it, then through some long grass down to the top of our first lane to be cleared.
Fortunately, this lane was in reasonable state although quite a bit of trampling of undergrowth and clipping back took place nonetheless, determined as we were to do a good job. A nice coffee stop was taken as well as our group photo, on the little bridge at the bottom, near the clearly obvious remains of an old church/chapel which had previously been hidden by undergrowth.
We then headed across to the railway stile but no work needed today! From here on in our problems began: grass was even taller than before, making it really hard work just to walk through it, the little path past the old remains of a barn, Ysgubor y Parcau, we found very overgrown and time consuming to clear, and then this was followed by a very rickety little wooden bridge that had deteriorated seriously since our last visit (this is being reported to Valeways). Very careful stepping got us all across safely, but then we were confronted with a previous stile now being three strands of barbed wire! Yet more problems, but we eventually we got this exit sorted out, several of us were by now very hungry and so after a short stop we headed for home, although this in itself was not without incident as one member had a bit of a fall into some bushes, requiring some rescuing from other members of the group.
We all thought that what in good walking conditions is an easy 4 miles walk, was today a challenging walk, made very tiring by exceptionally long slithery grass, hiding many rocks and brambles, paths blocked and plenty of hard work cutting back too. We all made it home safely, but think that it would be a good idea to walk this path relatively frequently to make our jobs easier for our spring and autumn cutbacks.
It is a lovely area, with beautiful open views, so deserves the paths being kept open- thanks to all who came along, for all your hard work.