Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Calls for Ceredigion path to be shut over safety fears


Weather forecaster Derek Brockway recently walked along the path for his BBC Wales programme Weatherman Walking.

Councillors are calling for a stretch of a popular coastal path to be closed temporarily for safety improvements amid fears it is dangerous for walkers.

A quarter of a mile section of the 60-mile (96.5km) Ceredigion Coastal Path, near Cardigan, is too narrow, claims Ferwig community council.

Sheep stray onto the path and there are concerns they might force people off cliffs in a moment of panic.

Ceredigion council said it did not accept the path was unsafe.

The coastal path fully opened in the summer of 2008.

But there are now concerns that a part of the walk in the small community of Mwnt is too narrow.

'Animal bolts'

The clerk of Ferwig Community Council, Brian Gooch, said councillors had received two letters from landowners concerned about the path.

"The council received two letters so councillors thought they had better hold a site inspection," he added.

"We walked about a quarter-of-a-mile of the path on land owned by farmer Ken Griffiths. We were accompanied by Ian Dutch, the chief pathways officer for Ceredigion.

"I was asked by the council to write to Ceredigion asking for the temporary closure of the path so that remedial works could be carried out."

Councillors said improvements should be made to the outline of the pathway in some sections, so walkers could not stray off it.

They are also concerned about steep sections and have asked for foot holds to make it easier for walkers.

Mr Gooch added: "Mr Griffiths wrote to Ceredigion asking who would be liable if one of his sheep bunted a walker, but he didn't get a satisfactory reply and has now taken his livestock off the field.

"Parts of the path are very narrow and the council is concerned that if an animal bolts then it could force walkers over the edge (of the cliff)."

Ferwig council argued that fencing should be put up to prevent animals and walkers coming into contact.

'Spectacular coastline'

But Ceredigion council said its officers had visited the section of the coast path where concerns had been raised by the community council and Mr Griffiths.

A spokesman added: "The council does not accept the claims that the path is unsafe.

"The section of path is part of a 96km (60 miles) stretch of coastline providing opportunities for people to access and enjoy the county's spectacular coastline.

"Some sections will differ from others, as some areas are low lying and others are near to cliffs. However, in all cases the route is assessed and reviewed to see that it is accessible and safe for users to use."

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