Wales: the lockdown eases

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 03/07/2020
Remember to stay within your limits as lockdown eases for the outdoors. Photo: Shutterstock

Welsh Government has announced that from Monday July 6th unlimited travel for all purposes is now allowed throughout Wales. This also includes travel to Wales from England and that all the closed areas of National Parks and other beauty spots will be open from that day.

Some areas are highly likely to face crowding and traffic issues and BMC and Mountain Training volunteers will be out and about actively helping National Park and other bodies with advising climbers, hillwalkers and visitors at these locations.  

Travel and overnight stays

From Monday July 6th, the “Stay local” advice for all residents to Wales is being changed and the amended regulations now allow for unlimited day travel for all purposes across Wales. This also means that people in England can now travel into and across Wales beyond the 5-mile limit.

However, overnight stays away from the place you are living at, are still not allowed. Caravan parks, campsites bunkhouses, hotels and holiday cottages are still closed for recreational and holiday visitors. Wild camping and van camping are still not permitted under the regulations and the police have stated that anyone seen van camping, staying in motorhomes or wild camping will be moved on and potentially fined.

From July 11th it is expected that self-contained holiday accommodation will be reopening, but again campsites, huts, bunkhouses, etc. with shared facilities will not be permitted to reopen. Only motorhomes with fully contained facilities (toilets and showers) and suitable waste storage and disposable arrangements at established sites will be allowed. Wild camping and van camping will still not be permitted and scenes of outdoors users in camper vans will only antagonise locals and create access issues for the future.

The BMC is working with Welsh Government and local authorities to agree procedures in place and to push for bunkhouses, campsites and climbing huts to reopen safely as soon as is practicable.

National Parks and other beauty spots

All Covid related access restrictions will be lifted across all of Wales by Monday July 6th and all closed areas should be open by that date. All the National Parks will be open for day visitors pretty much as they were pre-Covid. However, some local procedures may need to be in place to maintain social distancing and to prevent the spread of Covid. Most car parks and public toilets should be open but please check before you leave that this is the case at your destination.  Public transport is still severely reduced, and many car parks may have parking restrictions – this is especially so in the Llanberis Pass, around Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and the Ogwen areas of Snowdonia, where any available parking is limited at the best of times.  It would be best to avoid these areas at peak times and to have alternative venues in mind when travelling.  The Snowdonia Sherpa bus service will be running a reduced service and with social distancing rules in place capacity is reduced.

Remember to be AdventureSmart, stay within your limits and that rescue will be severely delayed and limited due to emergency services needing to follow Covid protocols. Rescue and recovery for non-life-threatening incidents may not be available and the need to be self-reliant is more important than ever.

In Wales the 2m social distancing regulation is still in place and is legally enforceable.  Car sharing with people from outside your own household is not permitted and if stopped by the police would be enforced by fixed penalty fines. Avoid busy areas. A busy crag or bouldering venue could inadvertently become an illegal “gathering” if many users turn up.

Litter has become an increasing problem at beauty sport and countryside venues since the easing of lockdown. Do your bit by not leaving litter and by taking along a bin bag and doing a litter pick at each venue you visit.

Key hotspots

Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon and Llanberis Pass

This is likely to be extremely busy and parking will be severely limited. Is now the best time to visit this area? Police will be taking a very strict approach to illegally parked cars (including towing away any cars that may be causing an obstruction or are illegally parked). If walking to the summit on these busy paths, please be considerate and give way to other walkers and do not linger on the summit. Maintain the 2m distancing. The summit café will be closed and will not open in 2020 and the train service will only operate to Clogwyn station, halfway up the mountain.

Daily updates on Snowdonia National Park car parks are on the Park website

Tremadog

The café car park is not available as the operators are currently trying to operate a drive through service for the café and regulations stipulate that they cannot also operate a car park at the same time. Toilet facilities are also not available for the same reasons. Parking at Craig Bwlch y Moch is severely limited and roadside parking creating an obstruction will be dealt with by the police. Consider if this is the best time to visit here? Alterative parking can be had in laybys towards Tremadog village and then walking back to the crag (just over a kilometre).

Castle Inn Quarry

The main car park is closed due to rockfall issues and the climbing areas partially closed for the same reason. Please use the alternative car park for Mynydd Marian Nature Reserve and follow the advice on the BMC RAD. Do not park on the approach roads and do not hog routes or top rope directly through the belay bolts.

Great Orme

The Marine Drive is now open, and parking can an issue around the Parisella’s cave area. Please be considerate to the buses that also use the Marine Drive. All of Mayfair Wall is closed until the end of July due to nesting birds. The descent gully to Lower Pen Trwyn is now very eroded and extremely slippery and great care is required. Consider using the grass slope closer to the Toll House.

The annual school holiday ban on climbing above the Marine Drive (no climbing before 6pm) comes into force on July 15th on all routes above the Marine Drive. Bouldering is not affected.

Llanddulas Caves

Do not park in the residential areas below the crag but park further down (20 mins walk) by the beach road.

Pembrokeshire

All areas are open as usual – the Castlemartin Army ranges are subject to the usual weekday closures due to military training and live firing. Also, there are likely to some new restrictions due to nesting birds in unusual places. This will be indicated by signage at the car parks and cliff top signs. All campsites remain closed and overnight stays in camper vans or similar are not permitted.

Gower - Southgate area

There have been parking issues here but it’s hoped that the National Trust will have opened this car park by July 6th. Do not park in residential areas or in front of houses on the approach roads.


More FAQs about the BMC and Covid-19

🌳 Can I start climbing / hillwalking? Yes, but be cautious in your actions, respectful of local communities and vigilant in avoiding transmitting the virus. Read our latest advice for July here and for the general return to climbing here

🌳 What's the situation in Wales? Read the full July update here

😷 When and how will the walls reopen?  In England it's July 25th Read the ABC's advice for walls and watch their live update here

✈️ Can I now travel abroad again? Get the latest answers to going abroad with travel restrictions now easing

πŸ›’ Is the BMC shop open? Yes - we officially reopened at the start of July!

🏑 Do you have any advice for clubs and huts? The latest club huts update and all you need to know

πŸ“œ Will the BMC keep running smoothly? Read more or watch our weekly live updates from our CEO

πŸš— What have the BMC access team been doing during this time? Read on

As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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