Access between Loonies’ Leap and Pontneddfechan Community Centre: Update & Alternative Access

Further to our recent messages, it appears that the gating-off of the access lane from Pontneddfechan Community Centre to the Gunpowder Works and Loonies’ Leap is almost complete (see photograph).

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is liaising with the landowner to try to maintain access (and is still seeking documentary evidence of historical usage to support this), but in the meantime Natural Resources Wales has provided the following advice on alternative routes if / when these become necessary. We appreciate that the return to Dinas Rock over the top of the hill will be inconvenient, but we ask all providers to respect these environmental & safety concerns and regard this as the only alternative route until further notice.

If the river-right access is ‘lost’, groups are asked for the time being to return from Loonies’ Leap up the Gunpowder steps and retrace their route back to Dinas Rock. Groups should not return to Pontneddfechan using the path on river left, until this route can be assessed by a lower plant specialist – nor should they stay in the river downstream of the upper (Loonies’ Leap) footbridge.

Along the path there are records of a number of rare bryophytes and lower plants including the scare turf moss. This is only found in a few sites in the UK . This moss is very sensitive to trampling and could easily be lost

In the river requires crossing the NRW weir, the weir is man-made and not designed to be walked over. The weir is very slippery and any fall is likely to result in injury. The rest of the river back to Dinas is shallow and groups are likely to walk on exposed gravels and sensitive mossy stones at the edge of the river. 

SWOAPG AGM Tue 27 Nov, RockUK Summit Centre

The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group will be held on…

Tuesday 27 November, 6.30-7.30pm at RockUK Summit Centre, CF46 6RD

Refreshments will be available from the cafe and, after the meeting, a free tour of the Centre and free use of the climbing wall (subject to registered climber conditions).

Details will be provided nearer the time, but the agenda for the meeting will include:

  • Overview of SWOAPG’s recent and planned activity
  • Receipt of formal reports and accounts
  • Approval of Steering Group Terms of Reference
  • Election of Steering Group, Directors & Chair
  • Formal Dissolution of SWOAPG as an Unincorporated Association (following our Incorporation as a Company Limited by Guarantee)
  • Approval of 2019 Membership Fees (we are proposing to keep the same fees as 2018, with no increase for inflation)
  • Q&A with Steering Group & Coordinator

We hope that you will consider attending, so please save the date in you diary and watch this space for further information.

Porth yr Ogof Clean-up 5 Oct

From Emyr Rees, SWOAPG Chair:

“Thanks to all that helped out on the PYO clean up day, we got loads of jobs done there and we really have done some great work to make the PYO area more sustainable. 

“Job 1, we dug a rain relief ditch above the car park this should help stop rain running down the road and entering the cave via letter box aven.
“Job 2, on the footpath from the car park to the resurgence we helped fell some trees and put the felled branches over parts of the path we would like providers to stop using in order to help sustain the path. Please see pictures and if the branches are blocking the path you usually use then please stop using them and stay on the path BBNPA have designated.
“Job 3, the stiles near the entrance of the cave have been removed as they were believed to be non-essential.
“Job 4, trees and other storm debris was removed from river-right side of the entrance flow so that work can be done on the emergency cave exit on that side of the river. This will also prevent that debris from eventually entering the cave.
“Please be aware that the emergency exit on river right is still not to be used as lots of the rock and mud are extremely unstable. BBNPA are hoping to do work on this in the future.

“I hope that the work we have done makes the cave environment better for all and if you  have any questions about the work we have done and why then please email me:

“Thanks again to all who helped out. “

Rock UK – Summit Centre Blackout Climb 19 Oct

Rock UK Summit Centre is hosting a free event this Friday in aid of South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue to help replace the kit they lost earlier in the year in Thailand:

Blackout – Climb by Head Torch

Friday 19th October 6 – 10 pm

Celebrating our 8th Birthday this year we are hosting the famous and FREE climb by head torch event at Rock UK – Summit Centre.

On the night:

Raffle in aid of South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue

Flash master boulder competition

U.V lights and glow in the dark face paint

Café open till 10 pm

Up and Under trade stand

Competent climbers are welcome and novices must be accompanied by a competent climber as per our usual terms and conditions. Lead climbing is only permitted by current Summit Centre registered competent climbers for safety reasons.

For more information please call 01443 710090

Access to Loonies’ Leap / Gunpowder Works: documentary evidence required!

Further to our recent message about the possible closure of the private access road from Pontneddfechan Community Centre towards Loonies’ Leap and the Gunpowder Works, we are working with BBNPA to provide documented evidence of continued, historical access along this route since the mid-1990s.

The section of the route we are interested in is from the Community Centre to approximately the first footbridge (from there it becomes a permissive foot[path, clearly marked as such on the OS map).

The sort of evidence that would be useful includes:

  • Dated photographs that show groups clearly using this route (dates printed on the photograph or embedded in electronic file properties may be enough); and
  • Adverts or reports from events that show the route being used.

Please contact if you think you have anything that could be useful!

POSTPONED SWOAPG Geology workshop 12 Oct

We regret that, due to the poor weather forecast for Friday 12 October we have decided to postpone our planned geology workshop.

We will arrange refunds for those who have already booked places and will organise an alternative date in due course. 

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this short- notice decision. 

SWOAPG Geology Workshop 12 Oct Final Reminder!

If any of you have attended geology workshops with Alan Bowring (of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority) you’ll already know how good they are!

South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group still has spaces on a workshop with Alan on Friday 12 October, focusing on the geology of the Upper Swansea Valley.

The workshop will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with the morning classroom-based (at Craig-y–Nos Country Park) and the afternon on the hill.

£25 per person.

All SWOAPG paid-up Members & Supporters are eligible to attend.

Book here (existing signed-up members will be asked to login) – and, if necessary, sign-up for SWOAPG Membership at!

SWOAPG Volunteer Day, Cwm Porth Fri 5 Sep

Dear News,

This is just a reminder that SWOAPG Members will be helping with some work that needs doing around Cwm Porth this Friday.

Please come and join us if you can!

10am-5pm (come for all or some of the day), meet in Cwm Porth car park or find the team around the area.

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!

Please let know if you can attend, so we know how many to expect.