A mysterious "phantom post snatcher" has been stealing waymarkers from the 83-mile Snowdonia Slate Trail in the Eryri National Park. 

The waymarkers, which are 1.5 meters in height, began going missing at the start of the summer from a remote location on the trail, according to The Guardian.

They are used to guide people across the lonely moorlands in the national park and concerns have been raised that the lack of signage in some areas could cause some hikers/ramblers to get lost or end up somewhere they shouldn't be.

An Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park spokesperson, speaking to The Guardian, said the waymarks ensured walkers followed designated routes, minimising their impact on delicate ecosystems.

The spokesperson said: “We urge all visitors to Eryri to recognise the importance of waymarkers and collectively ensure that we leave no trace, respecting the natural beauty and cultural significance of this area for generations to come.”

North Wales Pioneer: Eryri National Park said waymarkers were used to ensure walkers followed the designated routes.Eryri National Park said waymarkers were used to ensure walkers followed the designated routes. (Image: Getty Images)

Missing waymarkers a mystery says trail founder

A founder of the Snowdonia Slate Trail and author of its guidebook, Aled Owen, told The Guardian the missing waymarkers were a "mystery" and he didn't know why people would steal such a thing.

Mr Owen said: "It’s a mystery. It’s very frustrating because at that point the public right of way is indistinct and the signs help people get through, especially as if you go slightly off route you could be in the bog.

"People have the guidebook, the map and GPS but some do rely on the signs.”

The mystery began earlier this summer when two waymarks disappeared from the moor above Mynydd Llandegai.

Gwynedd council workers, helped by volunteer ramblers, replaced the two posts and added extra ones.

But now all four new waymarks have disappeared.

The markers are some half a mile from the nearest road and Mr Owen said he couldn't fathom why anyone would go to that much trouble to steal the signs.

He said: “I don’t think it was vandals – they’d have just chucked them to one side.

“Who knows what the motivation is but I think whoever is doing this must have a quad bike or some other transport because they are heavy.”

Owen added his theory was someone was stealing them to use the wood as fence posts.

Other incidents reported of signs going missing in North Wales

According to the article, the slate trail is not the only path that has reported missing waymarks.

The Cybi Coastal Marathon, which holds a race on Anglesey, said Welsh coastal path signs tended to vanish from time to time causing issues for competitors who follow them.

Angela Charlton, the director of the walking charity Ramblers Cymru, said the problem was widespread.

She said: “Our paths connect our communities and connect us to our heritage, and sadly, issues like this are representative of the wider challenges faced by our path network. 

“We are seeing more and more signage being damaged and disappearing and routes becoming blocked and inaccessible across Wales.”