Sustrans Rangers Ride Again
The start of the official shared cycle/pedestrian route from Llandudno to Rhos on Sea. There are those who still find the highway more convenient and direct.
On Saturday, 9th October 2004 early morning shoppers at Llandudno must have thought the summer had returned early when with a whoop of delight a large party of cyclists set off to inspect the new section of cycle route linking the town to the national cycle network at Rhos on Sea. The ride was an aperitif for an afternoon of presentations and workshops at the town's Victorian town hall.
The event was primarily aimed to provide support for the existing network of voluntary rangers, but it also offered a taste of what is available for those considering joining this worthy band of helpers. On both counts the day was an outstanding success.
The Parade, Llandudno. Rangers endure the hazardous road conditions parallel to the wide and deserted promenade from which they are currently banned.
We heard Sustrans officers, Gwyn Smith and Matt Price, provide the all-Wales overview of cycle route developments, with the Project Manager for North and Mid Wales, Glyn Evans, filling in the details of current and planned projects on his patch, which include, among others, extending Lon Ogwen from Ogwen Cottage to Capel Curig and eventually Betws-y-Coed and an attractive route from Wrexham to Llangollen: all in all a very competent presentation when seen against a background of increasing financial restraint after the first flush of public and private spending about the time of the Millennium.
Gwyn Smith has the attention of the thirty plus members present.
To provide the local authority angle Richard Flood, Flintshire's cycling officer, gave a most informative presentation of developments in his own area including exciting plans for a coastal cycleway from Prestatyn to Chester, which will complement the existing NCN Route 5. Though parts of the low level riverside path linking Flint to Prestatyn are still subject to land negotiations, it is hoped that this major 34 mile cycleway will be completed by 2007.
Given that the day targeted the needs of the Sustrans Rangers, here is a little background information for those thinking of joining this most worthy band.
Sustrans established its Ranger programme in 1999 to recruit local volunteers to help maintain and promote their local section of the National Cycle Network (NCN). This programme has been largely funded over the last three years by the Community Fund (National Lottery), and has grown from strength to strength with over 1000 active volunteers looking after 7000 miles of UK routes. This funding has now come to an end, and Sustrans has been unsuccessful in securing an extension. Alternative funding is now being sought as a matter of urgency to enable the programme to continue.
Subject to the personal interest of the Ranger, duties may include:-
regularly riding along the routes and reporting major defects
clearing litter and broken glass
monitoring usage on routes
ensuring the integrity of appropriate signage
looking after sculptures and mileposts
helping to raise the notion of 'ownership and care' by local communities
Organised by Sustrans Cymru, this event brought together individuals not only new to Sustrans, but also new to cycling. And the attendance of your website manager and editor, Maurice Clarke and Roy Spilsbury, representing CTC Cymru, augurs well for the close working partnership of these organisations in the times ahead.
Further details of the Ranger Network may be found on