I had a long chat today with Lady Helen Lloyd Jones, chair of the Ramblers Cymru and, like Ramblers Scotland, our friends in Wales are not taking these proposals from London lying down. This is what Helen told me:
“Like Ramblers Scotland, Ramblers Cymru has been severely affected by the needs of Ramblers to cut costs. Wales, like Scotland is a perfect holiday location for walkers with stunning scenery to enjoy and is the walking weekend break location in Britain. Thousands come from the big cities, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham to walk every weekend. Should Ramblers Cymru lose the mechanism to liaise with the Welsh administrative system about access issues and rights of way, the loss would affect many ramblers across the United Kingdom, as well as our foreign visitors.
“There is tremendous goodwill within Wales towards Ramblers Cymru who have played a major role in campaigning for the Right to Roam and Coastal Access in Wales and in offering opportunities to take thousands of people walking including those least likely to do so. The groups and areas are continuing to offer their fantastic programme of walks to members of Ramblers.
“In keeping with its reputation as the Research and Development branch of Ramblers, Ramblers Cymru is being pro-active and is looking for solutions to this current difficulty. Within Wales, we are hopeful a solution will be found which will enable many of Ramblers Cymru projects, which are leading edge schemes for the walking world, to continue and that we will be able to retain an office base and key staff. It is however too early to tell what the final outcome will be but we would welcome any support offered, including financial help.”