"Today I found a large branch fallen and in the area of Clun Gwyn Isaf on the Mellte. There are a lot of loose rocks now on the top. I have attached pics of the area and also where the branch came from (higher up path). This goes to show the ongoing dynamic nature of the gorge and at some point this may end up in the pools lower down that groups are jumping in."
Two items of possible interest to SWOAPG Members from BBT:
Invite to Brecon Beacons Tourism's Summer Social – book your place today:
BBT’s Summer Social will celebrate Visit Wales' Year of the Sea, it will take place on the 28th June, 6 pm till 8 pm. We need to confirm numbers for catering, so please confirm your attendance today by booking your place by 5 pm today. . Book your tickets here or drop us e-mail info@breconBeaconstourism.co.uk. The social will be based at the Canal Basin, Brecon and in the Waterfront Cafe at Theatr Brycheiniog and you will all have a chance to experience ways to enjoy the beautiful Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. You'll be able to try taster sessions both on and along the canal, learn about the Canal's history and take home newly printed walking leaflets as well as enjoy lots of networking. A taster menu will be included in the ticket for the Waterfront Café.
Activities PR Opportunity
Following a visit to the Brecon Beacons last year for Laura Hitchcock, blogger at www.littlestuff.co.uk and www.HaveKidsCanTravel.co.uk, she loved her visit so much she is revisiting the destination this summer. Laura has booked to stay from 6-20 July, she has booked the accommodation herself, so we are looking for support for activities (and places to eat) whilst she is in the area. Laura is visiting with her family (five people) and is particularly interested in adventure and outdoor activities such as kayaking/gorge scrambling/mountain biking/stargazing/pony trekking/bush craft. If you are interested in supporting this visit, in exchange for online and social coverage, then please drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to the residents of Pontneddfechan who came along to the free activity day organised by South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group yesterday.
A great day was had by all (despite the damp weather) and a few more local residents will now have a better idea of what goes on every day on the fringes of their village (and the role that SWOAPG plays in helping to minimise its impact on the village and the local environment)!
Special thanks to the Providers who gave freely of their time and equipment:
Call of the Wild – gorge-walking with Phil & Ed
Urdd Gobaith Cymru – gorge-walking with Rhys
RipnRock – rock-climbing & abseiling with Dave
Mountain & River Activities Ltd – Harris Hawks display with Geoff and friends
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority – geological forays with Alan Bowring (and funding via their Sustainable Development Fund)
Vale of Glamorgan Council has recently launched some storage units at Dunraven Bay, Southerndown for Coastal businesses – which may be of interest to a few SWOAPG members: see attached poster for details.
Reported by one of our military members: "One of our instructors last week reported drug paraphernalia at Penallta, actually on the crag itself. Due to the location of this we have put Penallta out of bounds until further notice".
SWOAPG members may wish to take appropriate precautions.
Following the introduction on 1 April by Geoff Maynard of a ‘paddle permit’ (whereby he is attempting to levy a fee of £3 for paddlers passing through his fishery at Llowes, between Glasbury and Hay), we advised providers to make their own decision whether to comply with his scheme, to avoid this stretch of river altogether, or to accept the risk of confrontation (in which case we recommended checking that your legal expenses insurance cover you against accusations of trespass). At our EGM on 19th April, those present agreed unanimously that it would set an exceedingly unhelpful precedent for anyone to pay Mr Maynard for the privilege of passing through his property on the river – and asked us to liaise with the paddlesport National Governing Bodies to attmpt to resolve the situation.
Since then, we are aware that Mr Maynard has been photographing groups travelling through his fishery and has sent a bill to one of our members for '100 boats passing through during April' (with a threat to increase the fee to £20 per boat if not paid within 14 days!).
In the meantime, members of the British Canoeing Access Advisory Group have reviewed the historical evidence of navigation on the Upper Wye. Their research (including some newly-discovered evidence, published at http://www.riveraccessforall.co.uk/news.php#wye) suggests that a Public Right of Navigation (PRN) may well exist on the Wye upstream of Hay. Canoe Wales has since written to Powys County Council, Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government and the Environment Agency asking them to acknowledge this PRN and to clarify who has responsibility for managing it. The Environment Agency and Powys CC have both replied that navigation upstream of Hay is not their responsibility – although Powys CC stated that it has "been asked to consider long term management of commercial use of the river for canoeing " (to which we would expect SWOAPG to be invited to contribute). The Welsh Government and NRW are yet to respond.
We have also ascertained that Mr Maynard is not the riparian landowner (he owns only the fishing rights) and that the landowner does not support his actions. In the light of this, we have written to ask him to stop demanding fees from our Members – which he has politely declined to do. We await to see whether he follows-up with further action and in the meantime our advice remains unchanged from the first paragraph above.
We will keep Members informed of any future developments.
We have received the following information from the Environment Agency, which might be of value to South Wales' Providers who use the River Wye below Hay:
"We’ve been given a likely date of Wed 6th June for the work to be carried out on the island at Monnington Falls by Monnington Court. The obstruction is in the river channel on left by the island at SO 375 428 Bycross.
"Please also be aware that we’ve received unsubstantiated reports in Belmont, Hereford and Eign suggesting that some large fallen tree obstructions are presenting a hazard. I’ve today walked along the banks upstream from Asda and down by Eign depot. I queried some instructor-led groups who hadn’t seen anything of note as they passed thru’ Hereford so please be alert to the potential for hazards and send in photos if you see anything which might need removal or briefing to your customers about."
Following concerns expressed by some SWOAPG Members about the advisory one-way system at Cwm Porth, the National Park Authority has provided the following additional information:
"The advisory one way system was intended to enable better flow of traffic in the Ystradfellte/ Cwm Porth/ Gwaun Hepste triangle during the recent bank holiday and school holiday peak periods.
"We understand from BBNPA Wardens, local Police and others that it has made a positive impact and with the other measures we’ve put in place, helped to unlock the area – as much for the benefit of local communities as those wishing to visit the falls.
"A decision was taken between BBNPA staff and local Police to leave the signs in situ for the summer period to ease visitor pressure and help direct those who might not be comfortable with passing on narrow lanes or have visited the area previously.
"We understand the concerns raised by your members and would ask if they would continue to follow the advisory system when the area is seen to be busy and most certainly during weekends and bank holidays.
"We would not expect them to follow the signs when the area is quiet but would ask them to apply discretion as to when they may do so, we will continue to monitor the situation and welcome feedback from your members.
"In order to improve the unacceptable conditions at peak times we have had to put these measures in place. We hope that your members will see that this is for the benefit of all stakeholders and residents within the area and we must continue to work together to unlock the road network and improve the experience for all. Your members set the standards for visitors and are ambassadors in a very demanding and public facing role, we hope that to encourage people to follow the system and not revert back to chaotic scenes, members will understand why we have put this in place and support us in this during the summer season.
"So just to clarify, if SWOPAG members should continue to follow the advisory system atweekends, bank holidaysand when they see the area beingbusy but apply their discretion at other times, we very much appreciate your continued support.
"If you have any further feedback or comments from members, we would be happy to discuss."