Following the First Minister of Wales’ announcement, a short, sharp firebreak will be introduced across Wales at the end of this week to help regain control of coronavirus. This means that a series of restrictive measures will be in place for everyone from 6pm Friday 23 October until the start of Monday 9 November 2020.
We can confirm that we will not be closing any of the footpaths across the Brecon Beacons National Park, however, for the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors the following locations will be closed:
- National Park Visitor Centre Libanus, café, toilets and shop.
- Craig y nos Country Park, Café, shops, toilets and car park.
- Cwm Porth, car park and toilets.
As per the Government guidance, exercise should only be taken from home, driving to exercise is not permitted.
When exercising please ensure to respect social distancing, adhere to strict hand hygiene, keep dogs on leads and follow the Countryside Code.
Please visit https://gov.wales/coronavirus-firebreak-frequently-asked-questions for further information.
Please Stay home, stay safe.
Waterfall Country is experiencing high numbers of visitors at the moment and car parks are often full before midday. Please be aware that if you park illegally you are likely to get a fine. Only park in designated car parks, and not on verges or pavements. Please check the status of car parks in the area using our car parking page before you decide to visit: https://carpark.beacons-npa.gov.uk
Social distancing is difficult with lots of people in the area so if it feels too crowded, it is too crowded. It is hard to keep your distance and maintain social distancing on the narrow paths around the falls. The National Park is 520 square miles so why not visit one of the less crowded places, and find your new favourite place
Following the First Minster of Wales’ announcement on Friday lifting travel restrictions in Wales we have lifted the remaining access area and rights of way closures in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
We are looking forward to providing a warm Welsh welcome to the Brecon Beacons National Park, however we would like to ask visitors to follow the First Minster of Wales’ request to visit Wales safely. “We ask that you plan ahead as although footpaths and carparks are open many associated facilities are not. Please remember that if it feels too crowded it is too crowded and have a ‘plan B’ ready for your visit.”
The First Minister of Wales has in particular asked that you “Be kind to local residents and to fellow visitors by parking considerately, leaving nothing behind and following the recently revised countryside code.”
Chief Executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Julian Atkins said “We know how much everyone has missed the Brecon Beacons and enjoying our National Park. With our communities we look forward to welcoming you as you visit Wales safely. Please respect people, protect the natural environment and enjoy the National Park safely.”
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. Additional guidance that the countryside access sector is using is provided by Natural Resources Wales: https://cdn.naturalresources.wales/media/691868/guidance-for-reopening-natural-and-outdoor-cultural-sites-for-recreation-final.pdf.
The remaining closed sites are:
- The Central Beacons including Pen y Fan and car parks at: Craig-y-Fro, Storey Arms, Pont ar Daf, Upper Blaen y Glyn and The Neuadd
- Waterfall Country and all associated car parks
- Llyn y Fan Fach and its associated car park
- Fan Fawr, Fan Frynich, Craig Cerrig Gleisiad and the Eastern Great Forest
- Carreg Cennen castle and woodland
- Craig-y-Nos Country Park
- Llangasty bird hide (please note the footpath along the lake is open)
- The National Park Visitor Centre and Mynydd Illtud Common
- Garwnant Visit Centre
- Cwm Giedd Forest car park (Mynydd Du in the west of the Park)
- Grwyne Fawr car parks in the Mynydd Du forest (Black Mountains in the east of the Park)
Please remember to follow Welsh Government Social distancing rules, Stay Local and Together we’ll #KeepWalesSafe.
Following on from the First Minister’s announcement today of the Welsh Government’s intention to relax travel restrictions on the 6th July (if conditions allow), we will be working with our partners to review the current closure list in preparation for an announcement on the 6th July, in line with the Welsh Government’s Guidance. For now, please Stay local and #keepwalessafe
In line with Welsh Government Covid-19 restrictions, and in response to Welsh Government guidance about exercising and travelling within 5 miles of your home, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has reviewed the list of closures we made in March under the Health Protection Regulations (2020). In conducting this review we have taken account of input from the Police and have met with our key partners to understand their positions. We will be updating the list of closures on our website on Tuesday the 9th June. Please remember that the majority of the public rights of way network in the National Park is open for you to explore locally from your doorstep. We will be keeping these limited changes to the lockdown restrictions under review in case they lead to a new spike in people congregating at sites and potentially increasing the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The Covid-19 movement restrictions mean that the National Park remains closed to visitors and honey pot sites and facilities will also remain closed. Stay Local #keepwalessafe
Following the Welsh Government’s announcement on Friday, May 29th, of specific minor relaxations to movement restrictions in Wales and taking recent sector specific guidance from Natural Resources Wales into account, the Authority has been reviewing its approach to closures. We are using the NRW guidance, to plan how we move through the stages of the traffic light system for the easing of restrictions, as this enables us to do so in the best and most consistent way possible. Our utmost priority has been and remains, to protect people, our local communities and health services.
Over the next week we will be:
· Finalising our review of those sites currently closed within the National Park in line with the NRW guidance and also the Health Protection Regulations (2020)
· We will be meeting with partners to co-ordinate and agree the re-opening of some sites in-line with Welsh Government’s traffic light system
· Preparing to reopen some areas in the week commencing 8th June pending agreement with partners (please seehttps://www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/list-of-brecon-beacons-national-park-closures/ for updates).
· Starting the processes required to prepare for the eventual re-opening car parks and toilets owned by the National Park Authority including legionella testing and installation of safety systems while awaiting the Welsh Government review on the 18th June.
We have been and continue to work behind the scenes with partners at both national and regional levels to develop a coordinated approach to re-opening. It is our guiding principle that we should avoid contributing to an increased public health risk from large numbers of people flocking to beauty spots and their impact on local communities.
For the more popular sites, particularly Pen y Fan, Waterfalls Country and Llyn y Fan Fach, these areas need to remain closed for the timebeing but we are working with partners to plan the major work necessary to prepare for the safe return of people to these locations in line with the Welsh Government traffic light system.
With our partners we are also exploring innovative changes to how we approach the management of visitors at honey pot sites, for the benefit of the environment, local communities and businesses.
We are undertaking these processes in order to keep our local communities, staff and visitors safe in the interests of public health as Wales responds to the global pandemic. Cllr. Gareth Ratcliffe, Chair of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said “We would like to thank both residents and visitors for their patience, support and for continuing to respect the restrictions in Wales. The protected landscape will be well worth the wait when it’s finally safe to return – safe for local communities, visitors and staff.”
Following the First Ministers statement today, we’d like to remind everyone that Wales is still in lockdown for the weekend ahead and that only essential travel is permitted. We, like the First Minister are relying on the people of Wales’ ‘willingness to do the right thing’, and thank you for continuing to do so. For the time being that all the visitor ‘hot spots’ remain closed, along with car parks and toilets, whilst the majority of our rights of way network remains open for exercise from your doorstep. A full list of closures can be found: https://www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/list-of-brecon-beacons-national-park-closures/
The National Park Authority is making plans for when the lockdown can start to ease, following the Welsh Government traffic light system and combined with our responsibilities under the Health Protection Regulations 2020. As and when Welsh Government announces further relaxations we will need time to implement any changes and update signage on the ground. We anticipate that it could take 7-10 days to effect these changes behind any announcements from government and we would ask for your patience as we prepare to keep our residents, visitors and staff safe yet active.
Joint Statement from the Welsh National Parks
Welsh National Park Authorities issue a call for continued patience amidst fears of a busy Bank Holiday weekend
Wales’ three National Park Authorities have thanked the public for adhering to government guidance in recent weeks and have called for continued patience this weekend to stay home and stay safe.
While Wales remains in lockdown, there are increasing fears that people will ignore Welsh Government regulations and attempt to access popular National Park hot spots over the Bank Holiday weekend, putting the Park’s fragile rural communities at greater risk.
The Park Authorities are reminding all UK residents to remember that Wales is still in lockdown with only essential travel permitted, therefore people are unable to drive to visit any of the Welsh National Parks.
Cllr. Paul Harries, Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said:
“We have seen on the ground that the messages clearly stated by Welsh Government are getting through and that in general people are staying at home to stay safe and only exercising from their doorstep, however there have been exceptions.
“National Parks depend on our visitor economies, but during these unprecedented times we are telling people to stay at home to stay safe and visit later. If not, there is real concern that our health services will face increased pressure and social distancing measures will not be followed.”
Meanwhile Cllr. Gareth Ratcliffe, Chair of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority who represents an area bordering with England in the Brecon Beacons National Park says: “The difference between regulations in England and Wales has presented local challenges. Our communities are working hard to look after each other and we are grateful to all those following the rules for Wales and keeping our fragile rural communities safe.”
Mr. Owain Wyn, Chair of Snowdonia National Park said:
“We understand that people are missing the Welsh National Parks and may be tempted to come here but please do not. It is a critical time for our communities and health services here in north Wales as we are only now reaching the peak of Covid-19 cases. We look forward to welcoming you back when it is safe, safe for you and safe for our communities”
Under Welsh Government regulations, the National Parks in Wales have closed a number of sites, including the Coast Path in Pembrokeshire, Snowdon in Snowdonia and Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. These and other sites are closed as they present a risk in terms of the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
Park Authorities are urging people to continue to respect the differences between Wales and England and to stay at home, stay safe and protect the NHS.
Wales is still in lockdown https://gov.wales/coronavirus
We are aware there is some confusion around the National Park Closures. This is a national emergency. Whilst residents living in rural areas such as the National Park might not feel the weight of the national emergency, the number of confirmed cases in South Wales has been much higher. Any relaxation of the lockdown, therefore, would risk increasing the rate of infection within the Park because as soon as the lockdown was relaxed, people would be on the move and we would not be able to prevent that or the increased risk of infection to the Park’s residents that would follow. Whilst some people are clearly concerned about the impact of the lockdown on their use of the countryside, other residents are content with the lockdown and would be equally anxious if it was to be lifted close to where they live, they are just not as vocal on our social media.
Just 235 km (12%) of the Public Rights of Way network in the Park has been closed under The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and these are limited to those routes within or leading to the popular hotspots and areas where visitors might congregate and increase the spread of the virus. Most of the Public Rights of Way in the Park remain open and have remained open throughout the current lockdown for local use. Residents are free to find out where these are locally to them. All of the Park’s urban commons remain open (Mynydd Llangattock, Mynydd Llangynidr and Pen y Crug), as do most of the open access forestry sites managed by Natural Resources Wales along with the Monmouthshire to Brecon Canal towpath. So where these sites and Public Rights of Way are within walking distance of a person’s house, they are available for exercise. It is of course up to individuals to observe safe social distancing and follow personal hygiene guidelines.
We are reviewing the closures on a weekly basis and in line with Welsh Government guidance, our conclusion to date has been that: to change things would cause confusion, increase the risk of transmission of the virus and cause anxiety in the community.
Please see the list of closures here – List of Brecon Beacons National Park Closures and our full rationale here – Closure Rationale
Welsh National Park Authorities issue clear message to respect Welsh Government Guidance
Wales’ three National Park Authorities have welcomed new Welsh Government guidance reinforcing the need for people in Wales to stay at home, stay safe and protect the NHS.
The Park Authorities are also calling on all UK residents to respect rules and measures in place in Wales to protect everyone, and will be making significant efforts with their partners, this week to ensure that the correct information is reaching people.
Speaking of the revised guidance, Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tegryn Jones said: “The clear measures announced by Wales’ First Minster Mark Drakeford on Friday apply to those living in Wales as well as those planning on travelling across the border into Wales.
“In Wales the lockdown continues and you should stay at home unless you are undertaking essential activities. This also means you should not drive to exercise, and only exercise from home, whilst following the Countryside Code.
“For those who do not live within walking distance the message from us is clear – do not visit Wales’s National Parks until the Welsh Government’s guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel in Wales have been lifted.
“We appreciate that the restrictions are challenging for people, but keeping our residents, visitors and staff safe is the first priority. When the time is right we look forward to welcoming you back to the National Parks of Wales and most importantly doing this at a time when we can keep everyone safe.”
The most popular rural hotspots in Wales including Snowdon, Pen y Fan and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path will remain closed using Welsh Government legislation until it is deemed safe to reopen them.
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of Snowdonia National Park said:
“These measures in Wales mean that people cannot drive to exercise in Wales – no matter where they live – and there will continue to be no parking or access to the most popular sites in the Welsh National Parks.
“We urge visitors planning on coming to climb Snowdon or any other popular peaks and sites to follow government guidance, to stay at home and exercise in their local area – please don’t make a wasted journey. We will continue to review closures on a weekly basis and will only open sites when it is safe to do so.”
Julian Atkins, Chief Executive of Brecon Beacons National Park said:
“Exercise in the outdoors is hugely beneficial for physical and mental well-being and this has been recognised by Welsh Government in their minor amendments to legislation on Friday that now allow people to exercise from their doorstep more than once a day.
“We hope we have clarified the differences between Wales and England and we thank you for staying home, staying safe and protecting the NHS.”
More information on closures as well as changes to National Park services can be found here:
We have reviewed our closures in-line with Welsh Government lockdown policy and the closures listed below will remain in place at this time. We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to the National Park and we will continue to review our closures weekly in-line with the timetable Welsh Government puts forth over easing the restrictions. In the meantime please stay home, stay safe.
A letter to the people of Wales
As the Easter bank holiday approaches, we have one message for everyone. Stay home and save lives.
Our public services are working around the clock to care for and keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Frontline workers are putting our health and care first, every day.
We must continue to do everything we can to support them; to protect our NHS and to save lives.
Stay at home and help stop the virus spreading.
We know it’s hard and we want to thank you for sticking to the rules. There are some early signs this is having a positive impact but there’s still a long way to go. We know that staying at home for long periods is difficult and families all over Wales are making many sacrifices every day.
Most people are doing just this, but it’s really frustrating to see some people flouting the rules and putting other people at risk. We are taking action to stop this happening.
These rules are there to protect you and your loved ones. For most people the virus will cause a mild illness, but there’s a large number of people – children, adults and grandparents – who are at risk of serious illness if they are exposed.
Sadly, a lot of people have already died after catching coronavirus. Families across Wales have lost loved ones to this virus – if we don’t act now, even more deaths will follow.
Our actions and decisions over the Easter bank holiday weekend, and in the coming weeks and months, will shape Wales for years to come.
Please – stay home and save lives.
Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales
Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales
Andrew Goodall, NHS Wales Chief Executive
Tracey Cooper Public Health Wales Chief Executive
Carl Foulkes Chief Constable, North Wales Police
Mark Collins Chief Constable, Dyfed-Powys Police
Matt Jukes Chief Constable, South Wales Police
Pam Kelly Chief Constable, Gwent Police
Andrew Morgan WLGA Leader, on behalf of all Welsh Local Authorities
Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales
Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys
Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
Jeff Cuthbert, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent
Jason Killens, Chief Executive, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust
Ruth Marks, Wales Council for Voluntary Action Chief Executive
Simon Smith, Chief Fire Officer North Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Hugh Jakeway, Chief Fire Officer South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Julian Atkins , Chief Executive, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority
Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive, Snowdonia National Park Authority
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.
Access land/public paths closed by virtue of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020
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