Wildlife Trust Start Annual Path Clearance Work

penninis lighthouseThe task of maintaining and clearing over one hundred miles of footpaths across the islands has begun.

Attendees at the AONB advisory group meeting on Bryher heard that it’s one of the most visible activities undertaken by the islands’ Wildlife Trust, who pay for all the work from their own funds, unlike many mainland areas where the bill is picked up by local authorities.

The Trust carries out all of the footpath clearance on St Mary’s, St Agnes, St Martin’s, Bryher and some work on the uninhabited islands too, such as Samson.

This year’s unusual weather means there’s extra growth in many areas and, unusually, many paths will probably need two visits.

They also need to clear vegetation around the many scheduled monuments in Scilly.

Manager Sarah Mason says the work is vitally important and says that last year, the Trust spent around £11,000 on the task, using a mixture of in-house staff and contractors.

They’ll also be helped by a team of volunteers who are staying at the Woolpack on the Garrison.

Sarah said local residents and visitors can help by letting then know if paths become difficult to walk at anytime, through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or phone.

At Tuesday’s meeting, one member suggested a novel way of paying for the work. Marian Bennett thinks islanders and visitors could sponsor a path or even give a pay-per-mile donation to ensure the work gets done.

Sarah says that’s something the Trust could look into in the future.