To All Members
Two important messages for the start of the 2018 season:
Additional Guidance for Waterfalls Country (attached as a pdf)
“Waterfalls Country” is under increasing pressure from both tourism and outdoor activity. The landowners, Natural Resources Wales and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, are keen to see the existing SWOAPG Concordat arrangements for Outdoor Activity Providers continue – but have asked us to emphasise the following key points to minimise our impact this year on local communities (in addition to the existing Code of Conduct guidance).
Let’s keep earning a welcome for responsible outdoor activity in this precious area!
· Parking, Changing and Toileting: please continue to be extra-vigilant about your clients’ parking, toileting and changing arrangements – especially in Pontneddfechan and at Clyn Gwyn where facilities are extremely limited. No-one should be changing or toileting ‘in the fresh air’ in car parks, around Pontneddfechan Community Centre or at Clyn Gwyn layby. Please make appropriate arrangements for your clients to change discreetly and to use ‘proper’ toilet facilities (e.g. public toilets near the Angel, Pontneddfechan and at Cwm Porth; and BBNPA should be providing portable toilets at Gwaun Hepste car park from Easter).
· We are also hoping to provide a toilet at Clyn Gwyn for providers’ use this season, but in the meantime please ensure that you offer toilet opportunities before or after travelling to this venue!
· Cwm Porth Voluntary One-Way System for Providers: to ease traffic congestion at Cwm Porth, please could all Providers adopt a voluntary one-way system with effect from 1 April 2018 (especially with minibuses and at peak usage times): Turn right out of Cwm Porth Car Park! (see attached map).
River Wye Glasbury-Hay
· Only a few of you requested a SWOAPG-led meeting to discuss the issue of charges for paddling through LLanthomas Fishery from 1 April – so rather than try to arrange a special meeting at short-notice before Easter, we’ll include discussion on this at our Emergency General Meeting on 19 April (6.30pm at Garwnant – register here).
· We are aware of considerable evidence (e.g. being gathered by British Canoeing) that, despite Mr Maynard’s claims, there is a Public Right of Navigation on this stretch of the Wye. However, this could only be confirmed for certain through a court case (or new legislation) – so anyone using the river may still risk being accused of trespass (unless they comply with Mr Maynard’s payment scheme).
· In the meantime, providers should therefore make their own decision whether to comply with Mr Maynard’s scheme (although we believe it would set an exceedingly unhelpful precedent for anyone to pay Mr Maynard for the privilege of passing through his property on the river), to avoid this stretch of river altogether, or to accept the risk of confrontation (in which case we recommend checking that your legal expenses insurance cover you against accusations of trespass).
· We will continue to liaise with Powys County Council, Canoe Wales and British Canoeing as the situation develops.