Path damage 'risks Snowdonia wildlife being lost'

Snowdonia's public pathways are being rapidly eroded Image copyright National Trust Wales

Snowdonia's pathways need to be preserved or plants and wildlife will be lost, National Trust Wales has said.

It said the scale of footpath erosion was "threatening Snowdonia's fragile nature".

The number of walkers climbing Snowdon has doubled since 2007 and more than four million people visited Snowdonia last year.

But the trust said grass species move in when pathways are eroded, strangling some plants.

Rhys Thomas, National Trust ranger for Snowdonia, said: "I've been building and rebuilding paths in the area for eight years.

"It's tiring, time-consuming and back-breaking work - involving hundreds of hours of volunteer time which requires shifting tonnes of stone by hand, vehicle and helicopter.

"But it's vital if we want to protect the delicate upland habitats that make Snowdonia a special place for wildlife."

Plants which could be at risk include purple saxifrage, moss campion and roseroot.

It is also home to the endangered Snowdon beetle - which in the UK are only found in Snowdonia.

Image copyright National Trust Wales
Image caption Actor Matthew Rhys is supporting the appeal

The trust is trying to raise £250,000 to repair two-and-a-half miles of path.

It comes as concerns grow over the amount of litter being left on Snowdon, with some calling for a walker's charge to be introduced.

The appeal is supported by Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys, National Trust Wales's Snowdonia Ambassador.

Mr Rhys, who is from Cardiff, but has strong family connections to the national park, said he had seen the "trail of destruction left by the eroded paths" during visits to the area.

"There's a delicate balance to be struck between man and nature," he added.

National Trust Wales looks after almost 58,000 acres of mountain and farmland across the Snowdonia National Park.

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