In Wales, while all forms of outdoor activities are now permitted, travel restrictions continue to remain in place until July 6th. But what's set to change after that?
Cases of the Corona virus are falling in Wales, in line with the rest of the UK but the the virus is still in general circulation and there is a risk of local outbreaks which may alter things - for example a current significant local outbreak on Anglesey, may lead to reinstatement of a local lockdown.
Until that time the regulations, stating that people must stay local to the place that they are living, remain fully in place and are still being actively policed. According to the Welsh Government guidance, this means people generally must not travel beyond five miles without reasonable excuse. Travelling outside of your local area to exercise (or to climb or walk) is not regarded as a reasonable excuse and the Welsh police forces continue to enforce this regulation. You cannot travel for the purpose of exercise into or within Wales for distances exceeding this five mile limit. People living on the border can travel into Wales for excercise but this must also be within 5 miles of where they are living. Campsites, bunkhouses, caravan parks, second homes, and all forms of tourism accommodation remain closed. Staying overnight away from your local area is not allowed (this includes van and wild camping).
There have been reports of people's vehicles being damaged when parked in remote locations, probably by local vigilantes taking exception to seeing (local) visitors in parts of the Beacons and Snowdonia. We strongly urge anyone who may have experienced this sort of behaviour (or any threats or abusive behaviour when in these areas) to report the matter to the police by dialling 101.
Many car parks, beauty spots and significant parts of the Welsh National Parks remain closed, including in the north, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and the Llanberis Pass, the Glyderau (including Tryfan and Cwm Idwal areas), Cadair Idris and the Aran Mountains. In the Brecon Beacons, the closed areas include Pen y Fan, the Waterfall country, Black Mountain in the west and the Black mountains to the east. In Pembrokeshire much of the coast path remains closed, including all access to the Castlemartin firing ranges.
In addition in Wales, you are allowed to meet with people from one other household but must maintain the 2m social distancing rule (this is a legal requirement in Wales). On June 22nd all retail shops (including outdoor shops) were allowed to open, but you cannot travel beyond your local area to go shopping for non-essential items.
Local Access Issues
We are aware that some popular climbing areas are already seeing issues. At Castle Inn, the car park remains closed (due to a rock fall), so please do not park on the approach road but use the Mynydd Marian car park, a five minute walk away. The Marine Drive around the Great Orme remains closed to traffic until July 6th, so parking has to be in pay and display car parks in Llandudno or nearby. Near Llanberis, the Dinorwig slate quarries appear to have been busier than usual, but bear in mind that legally the owners of the slate quarry do not permit access away from the designated rights of way and due to liability reasons there is no formal agreement for climbing at any of the slate quarries. The police regularly attend this venue to check on where those cars have travelled from. At Llanddulas, local residents are getting agitated by climbers and others parking in front of houses in residential areas, please park by the beach and walk (20 mins) to the crag and not in the residential streets.
July 6th changes
From July 6th, unless there is an unexpected and significant increase in infection rates, the restrictions on travel are changing, enabling unlimited travel to and within Wales (including from outside of Wales) for any purpose but overnight stays away from the home will still not be permitted. Campsites and all forms of tourism accommodation will remain closed.
Campsites still remain closed.
We are expecting significant changes to the closed areas on July 6th and although not yet confirmed, it looks likely that most closed areas within the National Parks and other parts of Wales will start to reopen. The precise details are not yet known and there could still be local restrictions and directions at busy venues (e.g. Pen y Pass, Pen y Fan, the summit of Snowdon, etc.) to enable social distancing to be maintained. Parking and public transport in the most popular areas is likely to be severely limited and it may be best to avoid these areas for a while! BMC is liaising with and being consulted with by all the National Parks in Wales to ensure that any new temporary arrangements are properly communicated and publicised. Contrary to various messages circulating on social media, there are no plans for a permit system or a booking system for individuals or groups using the hills of Snowdonia. However organised events, club meets and group activity will continue to be illegal, as exercise will still only be allowed with members of one other household and gatherings with people from outside one other household remain unlawful.
From July 13th the major change is that we are told that most tourism businesses can reopen. This includes allowing overnight stays away from the home but only in fully self-contained accommodation, such as holiday cottages, caravans or glamping sites with their own toilet facilities, apartments with en suite facilities, etc. Campsites, bunkhouses, club huts, hostels and outdoor centres with shared facilities will remain closed. We are expecting by this date that all closed areas of the countryside will have reopened but could be subject to some specific local restrictions and arrangements.
We will continue to update this information as the situation develops
Last minute update just recieved from Brecon Beacons National Park: "Following announcements by the Welsh First Minister on Friday June 19th 2020, the majority of the National Park is now open for safe local use (within 5 miles of your home). The sites that remain closed are closed to keep people safe and we’re working with partners to re-open them in-line with Welsh Government guidance and timetable".
Latest map of closed areas in the Beacons here.
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
🛒 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
📜 Will the BMC keep running smoothly? Read more or watch our weekly live updates from our CEO
🚗 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