Welsh restrictions lifting: what's different for the outdoors?

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 24/06/2020
Is summer in Wales back on? Photo: Shutterstock

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.

July 13th
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

We hope you stay safe during this unwanted adventure and let's come together as a community to help and support each other.


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Anonymous User
24/06/2020
Can Welsh climbing clubs reopen as self catering cottages, allowing members to visit one household at a time?
Elfyn Jones(author comment)
25/06/2020
In response to the question regarding use of climbing huts by members of only one household at at a time. The simple reply is that we do not yet know for sure but in theory it should be possible if it could be used effectively as a "private hire" as a holiday cottage to only one household group, and would require an agreed deep cleaning/sanitizing between each booking. We are seeking more information on this and that information will be shared with BMC affiliated clubs.
Anonymous User
25/06/2020
ARE the gliders open and can you go climbing there
Elfyn Jones(author comment)
25/06/2020
I presume you mean the Glyderau? That area, including Tryfan and Cwm Idwal are currently closed and are due to open on July 6th. Check the Snowdonia National Park Website for details :
https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/authority/coronavirus/routes-closed

Anonymous User
25/06/2020
thanks ref the reply regards glyder being closed, it was I had heard locals and some well know climbers had been heading up there climbing
Anonymous User
25/06/2020
Is there a date confirmed when I can stay with my daughter.I am a single household in England.
Anonymous User
26/06/2020
Campsite remain closed as of 6th July, but is wild camping acceptable as of that date?
Anonymous User
30/06/2020
Why if all the campsites are closed would you be allowed to wild camp !!! ?
🤷‍♀️
Elfyn Jones(author comment)
30/06/2020
Regarding wild camping - technically there is no legal right to wild camp in Wales, unless landowner permission is obtained. In that context, we asked this question of Welsh Government today. The reply was that certified campsites will remain closed, therefore in their view this would also extend to wild camping. not being allowed. This also applies to van camping. From July 13th staying in motorhomes /campervans will be allowed but only if they are fully self contained i.e they must have toilet and shower facilities with suitable waste storage built in, and can be emptied at certificated sites.
Anonymous User
01/07/2020
Elfyn, Ref wild camping, thanks for the reply. Is there any indication from the Welsh Government when and under what conditions they expect to allow certified campsites, huts, and our places with shared facilities to reopen? Like many, I assume, I am itching to get out and do some distance trekking. The original question was asked because the thought from a ranger who worked in one of the National Parks was, on the premise that you pitch at last light, are away by first light, and leave no sign, it would be possible to remain socially distant. It was also thought best to check, to ensure this perception was in tune with those who are responsible for well-being in Wales, hence the original question.
Anonymous User
01/07/2020
Can you confirm the Glyders will be open from Mon 6th Jluy and Cwm Idwal
Elfyn Jones(author comment)
01/07/2020
We are expecting further information and updates from Welsh Government as to when camping, bunkhouses and similar accommodation that have shared facilities will be allowed to open. We are strongly making the point to Welsh Government that such places really need to be open very soon (with suitable health precautions) or we will see a considerable amount of unregulated roadside camping (as has happened elsewhere) with associated litter and human waste issues. Genuine wild camping could then continue on the same basis as pre-covid.
Elfyn Jones(author comment)
01/07/2020
We are fully expecting that all the closed areas of Welsh National Parks will be opening on the 6th. However, we cannot yet confirm that this will be the case until it's confirmed by the First Minister's announcement, expected on Friday afternoon July 3rd, , that he is relaxing the lock-down regulations. in Wales.

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