National Park calls for greater awareness of water safety

Posted on 23 Aug 2021

Following higher numbers of emergency call-outs this year, visitors are urged to respect the water in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is calling for greater awareness of water safety when visiting its famous sites in waterfall country and elsewhere around the Park.

Waterfall country is enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors every year. Its iconic rivers are a source of enjoyment and tranquillity for many, but the dangers posed by the landscape should not be underestimated.

This summer has seen numerous call outs to mountain rescue and other emergency services. Tragically, these calls have recorded two fatalities so far this year.

The National Park Authority is calling on visitors to arrive in the area prepared for the potential challenges the rugged terrain poses. Sturdy shoes and suitable clothing are a must, along with water to stay hydrated on hot days. Lower leg injuries and exhaustion are common incidents in the area that can often be prevented by preparing thoroughly for a day out.

Waterfall country is a designated Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest. Within the deep damp gorges grow many rare plants, mosses, ferns and lichens, some unique to the area, and these require protection. Sticking to designated paths is not only safer but will also help these species to thrive.

The rivers may look appealing but entering the water should be undertaken with the greatest care. Temperatures in the rivers can be very low and pose a risk of cold water shock. You may not have intended to take a dip but you could suffer cold water shock if you slip, trip or fall into open water. Cold water shock passes in less than two minutes, so the best thing to do is to relax and float on your back until you can control your breathing to give you the best chance to shout for help and find something to help you float or swim to safety.

Catherine Mealing-Jones, CEO for the Brecon Beacons National Park, said, ‘It is terribly sad to hear of the tragedies that befall within our Park. Our thoughts lie with all families and friends of those who have suffered such misfortune. We want to raise awareness of the dangers that visitors may face to help avert future incidents and encourage anyone visiting the area to come prepared.’

Jon Pimm is a warden in the area. He said, ‘The area has seen a huge increase in visitor numbers this year. With people seeking to holiday in the UK this summer, we are welcoming new visitors who may not be familiar with the challenges outdoor exploration can pose and we want to ensure visitors arrive prepared for potential dangers. It is a truly beautiful landscape and we hope visitors will take note of safety advice to ensure they get the very best experience.’

The National Park supports AdventureSmartUK messaging to communicate safety advice. If you are planning a day out in the Park, please visit www.adventuresmart.uk for advice about how to plan your trip to the Brecon Beacons safely.

ENDS