“Waterfalls Country” Update: additional information

Further to our message yesterday, we have received the following additional information from Judith Harvey of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (the NPA) in response to questions raised by some SWOAPG Members:
"As you [may be] aware, the NPA is working with the Police, Powys CC, Neath Port Talbot, and RCT council etc, to attempt to address the issues created by the vast numbers of visitors to the Pontneddfechan (PNF) and Waterfalls area.  Before the Bank Holiday weekend, wardens met with Police reps and it was agreed that further measures were needed to address the congestion problems in the village of PNF, and also around the Clyn Gwyn / Comin yr Rhos area.  Police 'no parking' bollards and tape was put up, some by the Police, and some [with permission] by Wardens.
 
"I am pleased to report that for the most part there was no illegal parking in the village of PNF. The Ystradfellte show field was open for parking, manned by the owners of the field, and there was a charge of £5 per car.  The location of the field is SN919106, and the gate is adjacent to the cattle grid on the western side of the road.
"The NPA has [previously] received many complaints from a variety of sources concerning the cattle grid gate being obstructed, and also the double parking each side of the Comin yr Rhos road. By erecting the tape in this area on weekends when congestion is expected, the free flow of traffic can be ensured, as can higher safety levels for walkers, children etc. in the area.
  
"SWOAPG members are probably also aware of the additional parking made available in the field adjacent to Cwm Porth car park.  Both car parks reach capacity on fine weekends.
  
"The working group has also recommended the voluntary one way system in the Cwm Porth / Ystradfellte area.  This is fully sign-posted and has worked well in the short time that it has been operational.
"I know that we all have the common aim of providing an enjoyable experience to our clients, and would all wish to minimise the impact of the high visitor numbers on local residents.  Your members continued co-operation in the management of the waterfalls area, the gorges etc. is always appreciated."

“Waterfalls Country” Update: Angel Inn Car Park, Cwm Porth one-way & Clyn Gwyn Parking

Angel Inn, Pontneddfechan
Following our recent message about Providers using the car park at the Angel Inn, the landlady (Lisa) has asked us to pass on the following message. Her position seems perfectly fair and reasonable, so we trust that all Providers will be happy to comply with her request (and to keep sending business her way!):
"It has been brought to my attention that an email has been circulated regarding car parking at The Angel Inn. I find the contents of the email very disappointing and detrimental to me and my business.  [This message] has taken what was said completely out of context. The reason I spoke to [a Provider] on Friday 20th April was because, prior to this date, there had been a series of events where a number of activity providers were using my car park to meet their clients. There were coaches, minibuses, convoys of cars congesting my car par, giving the wrong impression that the pub was busy and my own customers were unable to park. I was astounded by the number of groups using my car park in this way and I made a decision that it was time to get my message across.

"I would like to clarify the Angel Inn Car Park is not a Public Car Park, it is Private Property for Customer Use Only.

"This situation has now come to a head, as it is affecting my business.  We are at a point where we have to man the car park.  What I say to people is "Out of courtesy if you are not using the pub please could you park elsewhere? If you do decide to bring your groups back [to the pub] you know you can use the car park". 

"I am not just dealing with activity providers, as you know the area parking is a major problem! Prior to taking on the Angel Inn over the last five years, I worked at the pub for 7.. I can see the area is getting busier and I am sure I am not the only business having this problem.  

"Most activity providers have been understanding and I thank them for their support.  For those who I have offended, I apologise; but like them I am trying to run a business.

"In spite of [this unfortunate misunderstanding], I am prepared to compromise as other activity providers have completely understood my position.  I am therefore prepared to give permission for activity providers to meet their clients in my car park early morning but must vacate by 10.30am, anyone there after this time will be asked to leave.  I believe this is fair."

Cwm Porth One Way
Many of you will have noticed that the National Park Authority has now installed signs to encourage use of the 'advisory' one-way system at Cwm Porth. We have received the following message from BBNPA:
"Just a reminder to let you know that, as part of the partnership working to resolve some of the traffic and parking issues around the Waterfalls area we have a voluntary one way system designed to help reduce the congestion by asking people to abide by the advisory arrows."
Clyn Gwyn Parking
Again, from BBNPA: "The Ystradfellte show field will [now] be open for parking at a small charge. This is to relieve the congestion on Comin Yr Rhos. Please will you ask your members and their clients to park responsibly, use the field for parking and change etc. in accordance with the Gorge Walking code."

SWOAPG Volunteer Day & Workshops

Please book your places NOW for any of the following (full details on our Events page at  http://swoapg.com/events) – £25 each for SWOAPG Members only (except for Volunteer Day which is free of charge!) 

  • Volunteer Day, Cwm Porth, 30 May 10.30am-5pm: come and help the National Park Authority with some clearance and improvement in this important area
  • Mellte Gorge Rescue Workshop, 3 June 8.30am-1pm: a practical workshop covering various topics and situations
  • Geology Workshop, 8 June 9am-4.30pm: a fantastic opportunity to learn about the geology of the Cribarth area, with the National Park Authority’s geologist Alan Bowring
  • Cave Workshop 25 June 6.30-8.30pm: covering various topics, to be confirmed!
Booking Places:
  • If you are personally registered as a Member on our new online system, login at http://swoapg.com/membership, proceed to the payment page, select the appropriate event and follow the registration process.
  • If you are not personally registered as a Member, but are eligible to attend through your business/organisation membership, book via the links given for each individual event on our Events page.
Please contact swoapg@gmail.com if you have any questions or booking difficulties.

SWOAPG Mailing List Update: Action Required!

Current South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group Members who have not signed-up to one of our new membership categories will be removed from our mailing list after 31 May!

We have now released our final new membership category, for Subscribers (free of charge for anyone who wishes to receive only e-mail alerts for ‘critical’, e.g. safety-related, issues relating to activity provision within the Brecon Beacons and South Wales).

Other categories available:

  • Full Members (£75 annual fee for corporate and individual Outdoor Activity Providers who wish to fully support our work and receive all membership benefits, including sign-up to the NRW Concordat for the Sychryd & Mellte gorges)
  • Associate Members (£25 annual fee for corporate and individual Outdoor Activity Providers who wish to support our work and receive most of our membership benefits, but not sign-up to the NRW Concordat for the Sychryd & Mellte gorges)
  • Youth Members (free of charge for freelancers etc. under 18)
  • Supporters (free of charge for organisations and individuals who support our aims and objectives, but are not Outdoor Activity Providers)

 

Register now via the appropriate links here!

30 May: Cwm Porth Volunteer Day PLUS Gunpowder Works Site Visit

Two events on 30 May that Providers should be interested in:

SWOAPG / BBNPA Volunteer Day, Porth yr Ogof ***Please come and help***

10.30am-5pm, Cwm Porth Car Park: A great opportunity for Providers to help Brecon Beacons National Park Authority with work that needs doing around Porth yr Ogof. Most of the work is above ground, so just old clothes and waterproofs plus wellies and gloves are required. Helmets would also be useful for work under cliffs. Bring a packed lunch and lots of water! Please book here so we know who to expect!

 Gunpowder Works Site Visit

4pm, Pontneddfechan Village Hall: An opportunity to undertake a site visit and find out more about the Gunpowder Works Community History Group (see attached poster). Limited numbers. To book a place contact: Gareth Kiddie gareth@gka.org.uk or tel (07984) 127811.

pdf icon Poster-for-Gunpowder-site-visit-v2.pdf

SWOAPG Membership: Sign-Up by 31 May!

The South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group has now released additional membership categories for Associate Members (£25 annual fee for corporate and individual Outdoor Activity Providers who wish to support our work and receive most of our membership benefits, but not sign-up to the NRW Concordat for the Sychryd & Mellte gorges).
Other categories available now:
  • Full Members (£75 annual fee for corporate and individual Outdoor Activity Providers who wish to fully support our work and receive all membership benefits, including sign-up to the NRW Concordat for the Sychryd & Mellte gorges)
  • Youth Members (free of charge for freelancers etc. under 18)
  • Supporters (free of charge for organisations and individuals who support our aims and objectives, but are not Outdoor Activity Providers)
Register now via the appropriate links here!
Coming soon: Subscriber category (free of charge listing for e-mail alerts only)
NB current SWOAPG Members who do not sign-up to one of our new membership categories will be removed from our mailing list after 31 May

Information for SWOAPG Members: Update on AALA Review; Adventure Smart Wales; and Mountain Bikes for Sale!

Update on AALA Review
From the HSE / AALA website:
HSE would like to thank everyone who responded to the recent Discussion Document on the future of the Adventure Activities Licensing framework. We are delighted with the response and encouraged by the amount of engagement on this subject. We received hundreds of detailed comments, which are now being analysed. Once complete we will report the findings to the HSE Board for consideration at their meeting on 20 June.  
In the meantime, the AALA team thank you for your patience and remind stakeholders that regardless of the outcome, there will be no immediate changes to the licensing scheme.  There is still much to be considered, and it will take time for any changes to come into effect. 
Licence holders should continue to engage with AALS and ensure they have a valid licence for activities in scope of the regulations. You will be notified well in advance of any changes and if necessary any transition arrangements to ensure that things continue to run smoothly.
#BeAdventureSmart
Adventure Smart Wales, a Welsh Government funded partnership project developed by the many organisations across Wales who want people to enjoy the great Welsh outdoors safely (including SWOAPG).  The Adventure Smart Wales Website has launched today  – check it out here www.adventuresmartwales.com
Mountain Bikes for Sale
From University of Wales Trinity Saint David:
“We have just bought some new bikes to go with our new skills track.  So we are going to sell our old bikes. We have a fleet of 14 Scott Scale  50 mountain bikes for sale, along with two Burtech 14 berth bike trailers. There are also two bikes that we have cannibalised for spares and then some bits and bobs, inner tubes, brake pads, spokes and 5 new sets of spare forks.  There are also 20 helmets – about two years old and used less than a dozen times. The bikes have not been used a lot and have been well maintained by a Velotech mechanic. The trailers haven’t been used much either and have always been stored inside and come ready to use with electrics, spare wheels and locks.
I can offer the lot  for  £4,250 (2x trailers, 14 x bikes and then all the bits n bobs including the spare forks and two frames and helmets). 
Depending on what the other interested parties decide,  I could work out a price to split the package.”
Contact Graham Harvey G.Harvey@uwtsd.ac.uk, 01267 225122

Activity Alerts: Angel at Pontneddfechan; River Wye at Hay & Bycross; Local Cave Leader Changes

Angel at Pontneddfechan – please don’t use its car park as a gorge meeting point!
From one of our providers: “Hi, I was approached by Lisa the owner of the Angel Inn for the last 5 years who asked if I and all providers could not meet their clients in her pub car park..  I told her that I often sent my groups to drink and eat at her pub after the gorge walking finished… She agreed that she would still like the custom but not the meeting.”
 
River Wye at Hay
From Jane Hughes at Wye Valley Canoes:
“Just to let everyone know that Welsh Water are doing some essential works to the bottom of Wyeford Road (the car park) and it will be generally closed to cars from Monday 30th April for 2 weeks. They are going to put up barriers but are aware that canoe vans and trailers may need to have access and will try and accommodate this. They are digging up part of the car park to put in huge underground tanks. Nigel Lewis from Hay Town Council has asked me to circulate this information so everyone is aware and can avoid if at all possible.”
River Wye at Bycross
From RAF Robson Academy of Resilience:
“I have been asked to pass on a river hazard that is currently on the Wye at SO 375 428 Bycross. The left side of the island has become very overgrown and fairly dangerous for groups to pass although it is still passable. The right of the island is better, however the flow naturally pulls to the left and so inexperienced paddlers can easily be pulled and end up on that side.”
Local Cave Leader Changes
From Richard Hill: “Attached is some info from British Caving Association that applies to all Local Cave Leader holders”

Upcoming SWOAPG workshops

SWOAPG has 3 workshops planned in the next few weeks:
  • 16 May 4.45-7pm Dinas/Sychryd Code of Conduct Training, for Providers who are signed-up to the NRW Waterfalls Country Concordat (one free space will be available to Providers who have paid for 2018 Full Membership)
  • 3 June 9-5pm (TBC) Mellte Gorge Rescue Workshop
  • 8 June 9-4.30pm Geology Workshop, with Alan Bowring of Brecon Beacons National Park, looking at how the hills near Cribarth are linked to the sea!
Each workshop costs £25 per person. Attendees must be either 2018 Full Individual Members or staff from 2018 Full Corporate Members or existing Level 2 or 3 Members / Observers or their staff.
 
Advance booking is essential!
 
Full details & booking via the links here.