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TV presenters explore walking route that runs the length of Wales

TV presenters Matt Johnson and Fiona Phillips have visited remote parts of Wales to walk The Cambrian Way – a 298-mile route stretching the length of the country – and learnt how dedicated volunteers are making sure the trail is clearly indicated for all to enjoy. 

Matt and Fiona, who are ambassadors for People’s Postcode Lottery, were with walking and wellbeing charity the Ramblers fixing way markers to posts along the route to help guide walkers. The way marking project is being funded thanks to People’s Postcode Lottery players, who have raised over £8.2 million for the Ramblers since 2016.

Despite being drawn up about 50 years ago by rambler Tony Drake, official waymarking of the route for the first time only began in September 2018.

Tony Drake died in 2012 and money from his legacy, alongside support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, enabled Ramblers Cymru to work with landowners, councils and national parks on access rights.

Matt joined volunteers Colin Bobbett, Dawn Drewitt and James Williams from the Lampeter Ramblers along one section of the route in the remote Doethie Valley to lend a hand with the way marking project. 

Colin became involved with the Ramblers after his wife passed away and views volunteering as his way of giving back to the landscape that he gets so much enjoyment from. He said: “I love hillwalking. It’s good for the soul and I think people are starting to appreciate the health benefits of walking.

“It’s all about getting out from behind your desk, pausing the automated world for a little while and getting close to nature.”

Matt, who hails from Caerphilly, didn’t know about the route until it was introduced to him by Ramblers. He said: “Being outside, finding new pathways and doing something special like marking the route so others can enjoy it gives you a wonderful sense of achievement. It’s so beneficial not just for your physical health, but for your mental health too.

“Taking in the beauty of the landscape gives me a really special feeling and it makes me proud to be Welsh. Cymru Am Byth!”

Fiona, who is no stranger to Wales thanks to her Welsh ancestry, walked another part of the route along the Brecon Beacons. She said: “The great thing about the Cambrian Way is that it takes in so much of Wales and it’s split into stages so you don’t need to walk all of it to still be able to take in some of the most beautiful parts of Wales.

“It’s wonderful to see that thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery this route is really being embedded into the Welsh landscape.”

Oliver Wicks from Ramblers Cymru who is responsible for waymarking the trail said: “The path is steeped in Ramblers history and its legacy is continued through the dedicated volunteers who monitor the route. This is no mean feat given that the path is around 74,000 feet of climbing, the equivalent of summiting Everest two and a half times through the middle of Wales.

The Ramblers works across Great Britain to help everyone, everywhere, enjoy walking and protect the places we all love to walk.

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £486 million to date for projects across Britain and internationally. At least 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and good causes.