Closure Rationale in relation to The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020
In response to queries the Authority is receiving regarding the closures it has introduced as part of the national effort which is underway to tackle the spread of coronavirus this statement seeks to explain the rationale behind the closures which have been introduced.
We have sought to close those locations (mountain summits, ridges, picturesque parts of the Park) which serve as attractants to visitors along with the principal routes by which these locations are accessed, together with the main car parks which serve them. The aim has been to get the message across that we are closed to visitors and that people should not be using their cars to enjoy a walk in the countryside. While the same rationale has been applied in each of the 3 Welsh National Parks its expression on the ground is different because of our differing geographies. In the Brecon Beacons, the reason that the areas which are closed are quite large is that many of the attractants are also CROW Access land and common land. We cannot easily regulate or restrict access to some parts and not others by their very open nature (we cannot fence sections off for example). We cannot also easily distinguish between local residents and visitors or anticipate demand at particular locations on particular days.
Most of our lowland ROW network remains open for local use and experience to date is that this is not leading to problems of congestion or people unable to avoid the 2m distancing rule. Indeed residents appear to be adjusting well to using routes they might not normally use. This approach is entirely consistent with the unofficial but sensible comments from Government that for most people a walk of about an hour from your doorstep is reasonable and sufficient daily exercise. We are all having to curtail our normal recreational activities and we should all be doing our bit to support the movement restrictions which are in force.
The objective of government is to prevent the spread of the virus from household to household and at this stage we consider it to be too early to consider any relaxations of the closures now in force. In light of revised regulations being issued last week and as a result of clear guidance being issued by the Canal & River Trust we have kept the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Towpath open for limited use only.
We are assessing the closures on a weekly basis but plan to formally review them at the first review point (April 15th) in consultation with Welsh Government. We would welcome representations from local residents regarding any particular difficulties the current closures are causing in terms of being able to undertake reasonable daily exercise from home.
As a National Park Authority charged with promoting the conservation and enjoyment of our designated landscape we have not taken the decision to close the areas we have lightly. The have been subjected to an internal review process across the Authority and arrived at following due consideration of the regulations and their objectives.
In establishing this rationale we are having to take into account the following:
- The situation is grave and the number of deaths being recorded daily in the UK continues to rise at an alarming rate. In this context the need to regulate where people might seek to take exercise is important.
- The science underpinning the guidance is continually evolving (there is now evidence for example that maintaining social distancing of 2m may not be sufficient).
- As a public sector organisation we have a job to do in a national emergency.
- The need to keep most of the PRoW network open for essential use by local residents.
- We are having to balance calls for the closures to be relaxed alongside calls for there to be tighter restrictions.
- Making vehicle journeys for exercise can only be considered to be non-essential travel.
- Access into upland areas is usually achieved by driving to a start point in the countryside from locations either inside or outside the National Park and these car parking points are likely to result in gatherings of more than two people which cannot be controlled without closures.
- We are taking local communities’ interests as a whole into account because it’s the local communities that are put at risk by people visiting hotspots.
- Cafes, pubs, restaurants, leisure centres etc. are closed and these closures have been accepted. Access to the countryside is no different.
- The Park is here for everyone and it is being managed on behalf of everyone.
Our observations to date are that the regulations are working; the hotspots are quiet. There are very few people anywhere on the Canal, which remains open, or around Brecon for example (the most densely populated area). These observations as well as community feedback are demonstrating that people can adjust.
Updated list of Brecon Beacons National Park Closures
Access land/public paths closed by virtue of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020
BB-1 Central Beacons
All areas of access land, above the hill fence, comprising of the Central Brecon Beacons including Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn, Fan y Bîg, Waun Rydd, Allt Lwyd, Torpantau, Pant y Creigiau, Bryniau Gleision, Cefn yr Ystrad, Cefn Cil-Sanws, Garn Ddu, Cefn Car, Waun Wen, Waun Lysiog, Twyn Mwyalchod, Graig Fan Ddu, Gwaun Taf, Gwaun Perfedd, Cefn Crew, Tyle Brith, Pen Milan, Y Gyrn, Cefn Cwm Llwch, Bryn Teg, Cefn Cyff and including all public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways within those area. In addition, the Storey Arms car park
BB-2 Waterfalls Country (Pontneddfechan, Ystradfelte and Penderyn)
All areas of access land in the Waterfall Country and all public footpaths and bridleways located on access land. In addition public footpath no. 17 commencing at Penderyn (SN94481,08918) and leading to Sgwd yr Eira, bridleway no. 32 commencing at Dinas Rock (SN91569,08079), public footpath no. 42 commencing from a point north of Clyn-Gwyn car park (SN91819,10763), public footpath no. 84 commencing from Clyn-Gwyn car park (SN91878,10566), public footpath no. 42 commencing from Cwm Porth car park (SN92825,12370) and public footpath no. 18 commencing from the A4059 near Pant-Garw (SN94432,09959)
BB-3 Black Mountains – East
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, within the Black Mountains comprising of Hay Bluff and Ffynnon y Parc and extending south along the Hatterrall Ridge to and including Hatterrall Hill including all public footpaths and bridleways within those areas
BB-4 Black Mountains –Central
All areas of access land, above the hill fence, within the Black Mountains including Waun Fach, Pen y Manllwyn, Y Grib, Rhos Dirion, Twmpa, Waun Croes Hywel, Darren Lwyd, Gadair Fawr, Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Twyn Glas, Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch, Pen Twyn Mawr, Pen Garreg, Crug Mawr, Blaen yr Henbant, Partrishow Hill, Twyn Talycefn, Y Fan, Bwlch Bach, Bâl Mawr, Bâl Bach, Garn Wen and y Gaer and including all public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways within those areas
BB-5 Black Mountains – West
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, adjacent to the Black Mountains comprising of Rhos Fach and Rhos Fawr including all public footpaths and bridleways within those areas
BB-6 Offa’s Dyke National Trail
Offa’s Dyke National Trail, above the hill fence where it meets access land, between grid reference SO23868,39549 south of Cadwgan (Hay-on-Wye) and SO32447,22753 west of Trewyn Farm (Pandy)
BB-7 Mynydd Du
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, within the Black Mountain and the Western Great Forest including Mynydd Bach Trecastell, Mynydd Myddfai, Fedw Fawr, Waun Lwyd, Garn Lâs, Twyn yr Esgair, Moel Feity, Bannau Sir Gâr, Fan Brycheiniog, Waun Haffes, Cefn Twrch, Garreg Las, Waun Fignen Felen, Carreg Goch, Dorwen ar Giedd, Llorfa, Cefn Carn Fadog, Foel Fraith, Garreg Lwyd, Feol De gar Bedol, Tair Carn, Mynydd Isaf, Drysgol including car parks at Llyn y Fan Fach, Herbert’s Quarry and Brest Cwm Llwyd and all public footpaths and bridleways within those areas
BB-8 Eastern Great Forest and Manor Mawr
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, within and adjacent to the Eastern Great Forest and Manor Mawr including Fan Fawr, Rhos Dringarth, Fan Dringarth, Fan Frynich, Twyn Dylluan-ddu, Craig Cerrig Gleisiad, Fan Llia, Waun Llywarch, Ton Teg, Waun Tincer, Mynydd y Garn, Gwaun Cefn y Garreg, Cadair Fawr, Pant y Gadair, Cefn Cadlan, Garn Ddu, Cefn Sychbant and Mynydd-y-glog and all public footpaths and bridleways within those areas
BB-9 Mynydd Illtud
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, within Mynydd Illtud including Twyn y Gaer, Allt Lom, Daudraeth Illtud and all public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways within those areas
BB-10 Mynydd Troed, Mynydd Llangors, Pen Tir and Cefn Moel
All areas of access land including roadside parking areas, above the hill fence, comprising of Mynydd Troed, Mynydd Llangors, Pen Tir and Cefn Moel and all public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways within those areas
BB-11 Skirrid Fawr
Skirrid Fawr (SO32983,17857) and all public footpaths within that area along with public footpath no. 182 which commences from the Old Ross Road at SO32824,16375 to its connection with access land at SO32730,16953
BB-12 Allt yr Esgair
Bridleways nos. 8 and 10 commencing from SO12941,22706 at the A40 layby at Talybryn, Llansantffraed and heading towards Allt yr Esgair
BB-13 Table Mountain, Crickhowell
The area of access land comprising of Table Mountain, Crickhowell and all public footpaths within that area along with public footpath no. 9 between SO22408,19864 and SO22491,20321 and bridleway no. 5 (Cwm Cwmbeth) between SO21956,20081 and SO21826,20885
BB-14 Garn Goch, Bethlehem
Garn Goch, Bethlehem (SN69130,24342) including the public footpath within that area and the car park
BB-15 Carreg Cennen
Carreg Cennen woodland, carpark and circular walk including public footpaths nos. 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 between SN66512,19093; SN67133,19067 (Hengrofft); SN67663,18906 and SN68862,19062 (Wern-Wgan)
BB-16 The BeaconsWay
The Beacons Way where it crosses any of the above areas along with the section that follows public footpaths nos. 33, 34 and 35 between SN85598,15466 and SN90814,14348 between Penwyllt and Blaen Nedd
Other sites that are closed
BB-17 Craig y Nos County Park
BB-18 Keeper’s Pond (SO25480,20735) and Foxhunter (SO26324,210750) car parks
BB-19 Llangasty Birdhide (SO12651,26224) and car park by Llangasty Church (SO13287,26186)
BB-20 Blaen Onneu car park (SO15712,17087) off the B4560 and Llangattock escarpment car park (SO20919,215391)
BB-21 Picnic site adjacent to Craig Cerrig Gleisiad adjacent to the A470 (SO97129,22174)
BB-22 The National Park Visitor Centre and car park
BB-23 Upper and Lower Blaen-y-glyn car parks at the head of the Talybont valley at SO05645,27599 and SO06321,170444
BB-24 Car parks in the vicinity of the Sugarloaf at y Fro (SO29228,20032) and Llwyn-du (SO28372,161830)
BB-25 Informal car park near Carreg Cennen castle (SN67072,19020)
BB-26 Mynydd Ddu Forest car parks at Blaen Y Cwm (SO25297,28387) and Cadwgan (SO26720,25134)
BB-27 Taf Fechan Forest car parks at Owl’s Grove (SO04872,16259), Pont Cwmyfedwen (SO04235,16399) and Neuadd (SO03768,16960)
BB-28 Garwnant Visitor centre (SO0304,13117) including car park, toilets, play areas and bike trails
BB-29 Car parks in Waterfall Country namely Clun Gwyn (SN91868,10580), Cwm Porth (SN92844,12427), Gwaun Hepste (SN93561,12355), Pont Melin Fach (SN90792,10486) and Dinas Rock (SN91095,07931)
BB-30 Car park at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve (SN85617,15555)
BB-31 Car park at Glasfynydd Forest, Pont ar Wysg (SN82003,27134)
BB-32 Car park at Cwm Giedd forest (SN79141,12772)
BB-33 Car park at Pen Arthur forest, Llangadog (SN71715,25590)
BB-34 Pont-ar-Daff car park adjacent to the A470 (SN98689,19989)
Please see our latest statement here – Brecon Beacons National Park Authority supports Snowdonia National Park Authority’s call on Government
In response to the Government’s advice to limit social contact due to the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has taken the decision to close its HQ in Brecon from 5pm today (Wednesday 18 March).
Phone lines at all locations will remain open to the public, however we would encourage you to contact us via email – email@example.com
Please follow social media or check our website (www.beacons-npa.gov.uk) for further updates.
We have plans in place to deliver business continuity but there will be some areas of our work which may have to be restricted or delayed. We are following advice from the Welsh and UK Governments in relation to Coronavirus/ Covid-19 and will update our working procedures as and when required.
With regards to the Planning Committee scheduled for Tuesday 31st March, this meeting is cancelled. The National Park Authority meeting scheduled for the same day is being reviewed.
***Changes to planning service as a result of Covid-19***
As you can imagine Covid-19 has had an impact on the way the National Park Authority is able to conduct its business. Most of our staff are now working from home and although most services will be unaffected as a result of this change, we want to make you aware that there may be delays in responding to you as we work adapt to our changing working practice. We hope you can understand that the changes we are dealing with are as a result of unprecedented worldwide events, and we appreciate your patience and kindness in your contact with us. The following is correct as of 18th March 2020, we will update this page if there are any changes.
- We are still processing planning applications but we may take longer to reach a decision than we would normally take, and we may be awaiting responses from consultees, therefore in some cases this may be an additional 8 weeks.
- We are still providing planning advice over the phone and via email but our face to face meetings and planning surgeries have been suspended until further notice
- We are suspending pre-application site meetings for the time being, written advice will still be offered, but again we may be delayed in responding to you.
- You will not be able to come to our Brecon offices to speak to a planner, technician or help desk employee but can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- All communication should be undertaken by email wherever possible as postal communication may be subject to delays
- The Authority is no longer able to receive cash, cheque or telephone card payments due to the impact of the crisis. Payment for planning applications can be made via the planning portal or alternatively by BACS transfer – send all invoices, remittances and other correspondence and queries by email to email@example.com