A new report from Sustrans Cymru demonstrates the importance of protecting of the National Cycle Network following weather-related blockages like the landslip at Coppet Hall, Saundersfoot.

Walk, Wheel and Thrive: Well-being and the National Cycle Network sets out the contribution of the Network against all seven of the Wales’ National Wellbeing Goals. 

The National Cycle Network (NCN) is made up of traffic-free and low-traffic routes, and despite its name is mostly made up of shared-use paths.

Almost 60 per cent of Wales’ population lives within a mile of the National Cycle Network, and it runs through all 22 of Wales’ local authority areas.

The network has been shown to have numerous benefits to people’s lives, both in terms of people’s health and well-being, as well as financially.

People surveyed on their reasons for using the National Cycle Network indicated that it plays a hugely positive role in their physical and mental health.

83 per cent of UK NCN users said that it improves their overall satisfaction with life, while 70 per cent said they use the network to improve their well-being.

Physical activity on the network is also estimated to have prevented nearly 600,000 sick days.

According to the report, local businesses across the UK are estimated to have benefited by £1.7 billion from the National Cycle Network’s users.

However, Sustrans warns that urgent action is needed to protect this important asset for future generations.

The charity says that the impact of extreme weather is leading to significant issues that can shut down routes completely. 

Flooding and landslips are becoming very common and can happen very quickly, severing communities for long periods of time with high repair costs.

Between Saundersfoot and Wiseman’s Bridge, Pembrokeshire, a section of NCN 4 is completely closed following a major landslip.

In Conwy, the Dulas Bridge is in need of replacement beams after having been damaged due to recent flooding. 

Another major blockage caused by a landslip has left a section of the Ystwyth Trail in Llanilar closed off.

“An ageing and under-resourced Network can’t serve the needs of the future, so we need to be proactive and invest in prevention now before it’s too late,” said Christine Boston, Director of Sustrans Cymru.

“We’re working positively with Welsh Government and local authorities across the country to protect, improve, and ensure the National Cycle Network continues to serve the people of Wales, but there’s an urgency here to make sure we don’t lose what it provides.”