Pembroke Range West safety briefing goes virtual

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 17/03/2021
Range West. Photo: Steve Quinton

All climbers and other recreational users who want to access Range West on the Castlemartin Range in Pembrokeshire must attend an annual safety briefing. This year for the first time you can complete the briefing online from home.

Previously this has been by done by face- to-face meetings at the Castlemartin Army Camp. Due to the Covid restrictions this was not possible either last year or for this year.  

As all Pembrokeshire climbers are aware Range West provides some of the most adventurous and paradoxically some of the most amenable sea-cliff climbing in Wales. Climbing on this live firing range is truly unique and in addition to the usual issues of loose rock, abseil approaches, nesting birds and particularly fast incoming tides, climbers also must also deal with and avoid the real unexploded ordnance that’s found here.

For many years now the MoD, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation that manages the military’s estates, and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park have hosted live face-to-face safety briefings, which are mandatory for all persons who wish to go climbing on Range West. Access to Range East, which is from St Govan’s Head to Stack Rocks, does not require a special safety briefing and is accessible along the coastal path whenever there is no live firing, usually most weekends and evenings.

This year the Range West recreational access briefing will be online. All persons wanting to access Range West must watch the presentation via the link provided below, print off and complete the Recreational Access Form and give the form to Camp Security the day you wish to access Range West.

No electronic copies of the form will be accepted. However, there will be NO access to Range West until Welsh Government lifts the current ‘Stay Local’ Covid restrictions which apply to everyone in Wales. This is unlikely to be before Easter and even then, additional restrictions may apply to those travelling from outside of Wales. Restriction maps and briefing handouts will be available from Security as normal. People travelling in breach of the regulations and seen in the Range (East or West) will be reported to the police. Range staff have powers to detain and take details of anyone on the range.

  • The Pembrokeshire cliffs are also internationally important nesting grounds for many sea birds and other protected species. Due to less climbers and activity on the cliffs in the last couple of years it’s possible that birds will be nesting on cliffs and in areas where they have not previously done so. Additional seasonal restrictions are possible so please be extra vigilant in checking the BMC RAD, on site notices and download the up to date National Park Cliff climbing restrictions leaflet.

IDENTIFY: Don't ruffle feathers by ignoring nesting restrictions this spring

  • In addition, in the last few years there has been an increase in the number of unauthorised (and illegal) overnighting in National Park and other car parks, mainly in vans but occasionally even tents being erected. When Covid restrictions allow for overnight stays in Wales, overnighting will only be permitted in authorised campsites and people found overnighting in car parks and other public spaces will be liable to prosecution under local bylaws and Covid regulations.

READ: Wales lockdown easing?

  • The BMC on behalf of all climbers wish to thank the DIO, Castlemartin Range staff and Pembrokshire Coast National Park for producing  and putting in place this this online breifing, at very short notice, following representations from the BMC at the annual liaison meeting. 
  • While this is a trial for 2021 the expectation is that this will become the normal way of accessing the safety briefing in future. 
  • Note - that there is no sound on the presentation and the slide transition is a rather fast, which we are working to resolve! 

Full details of the Range West briefing:

In English: Castlemartin Range Recreational Access Brief - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Yn y Gymraeg: Brîff Mynediad Hamdden Maes Tanio Castellmartin - Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro

WATCH: The Pembroke experience: rock climbing with Sophie Whyte and Gosia Lipinska on BMC TV

WATCH: Steve McClure climbs E10 Choronzon, Pembroke on BMC TV


DOWNLOAD: the shiny new BMC RAD app

Get all the info on crags with the newly updated RAD (Regional Access Database) app from the BMC! Available now for Android and iOS, it's free and comes with a host of new features like navigation and parking, weather and tidal updates, and of course information on restrictions or notes on access advice. Get it here now!

DOWNLOAD: The RAD app for Android

DOWNLOAD: The RAD app for iOS

RAD is community led and your comments help keep it up to date so don’t be afraid to add any relevant information after a crag visit which might be useful for other visitors – anything from conditions on the crag, favourite routes or reports of rockfall/other recent changes to the crag are all useful for other climbers visiting.


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