Attached is a DRAFT of the response that SWOAPG proposes to submit to Powys County Council’s consultation on canoe launching at Glasbury, which has been drawn up following consultative meetings with our members.
Although the Council has made it clear that it is interested in the quality of responses (rather than receiving large numbers of identical ones), it will be useful for them to have as many responses direct from providers as possible. We are therefore sharing our draft with you now so that you have the opportunity to use it in preparing your own responses: please feel free to cut-and-paste as you see fit. The deadline for submission is Sunday 17 Feb and we do not expect our submission to change significantly from this draft (unless any of you tell us forcefully enough that it needs to!).
The emergency telephone at Cwm Porth is currently out-of-order. BBNPA is investigating its repair, but in the meantime, providers using the area should be prepared to go in search of a mobile phone signal in the event of an emergency.
South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group has organised a meeting between its ‘Canoe Interest Group’ (any SWOAPG members who have an interest in canoeing!) and Powys staff, to hear more about the proposals, answer questions and offer initial comments on Tue 29 Jan, 10am-12pm at Black Mountain Lodge, Glasbury HR3 5PT.
If you would like to be added to this group and/or to attend the meeting, please let us know.
The full list of ideas being considered by Powys is:
Water level indicators – Launching would only be permitted above a certain level; that could affect all canoeists, whether they are commercial operators or not.
Restricting launching for commercial activity to specific days of the week – Launching for commercial activity would only be permitted on certain days of the week. Individuals, canoe clubs and non-profit-making groups would not be restricted.
Allowing launching for guided groups only on certain days of the week, but allow unguided groups on other days – This would apply to commercial operators only.
A central management scheme funded by financial contributions, to cover the costs of monitoring and enforcement. This would apply to commercial operators only.
A financial contribution towards an organisation (e.g. charity) or activity that is felt to benefit the river as a whole, rather than any individual or business, or even a completely different nominated charity. Contributions could be required from commercial operators and invited from others.
To set a quota for commercial usage each day, e.g. through having a set number of tickets per day. This would apply to commercial operators only.
Increasing the visibility of anglers (e.g. by flags on trees) to canoeists, to allow more time for canoeists to avoid them and so reduce possible disturbance.
Signage in sensitive areas on the river, so that canoeists can more easily identify those locations and act accordingly (e.g. “please pass quietly for the next 500m”)
Group Size Restrictions – these could restrict the size and number of groups that any one commercial company may put down the river on any one day.
Reduced ‘Launching Windows’ so that launching for commercial operators would only take place between certain times on peak days, to allow this canoe traffic to have cleared the river for other users by mid-afternoon.
Reduced ‘Launching Window’ for unguided groups only on peak days. This would apply to groups launched by commercial operators only.
We have recieved the following message from Punch Maughan, Volunteer Friends & Patrons Coordinator at Theatr Brycheiniog – which may be of interest to some SWOAPG Members:
"I have been working on an initiative around International Women's Day / Brecon Women's Day – focusing on women in the outdoors. We are currently signing off the marketing flyers etc now – I would be grateful if you could circulate the information to people you might know in the OA world who might be interested – all events are on www.brycheiniog.co.uk with more detail and for booking or registering on!
1. Thursday 28th February – opening of the exhibition in the gallery. 'Celebrating Women in the Outdoors'. Opening party 6pm (free). The context is women doing extraordinary and ORDINARY things in the outdoors and will include the 10th anniversary of WWW. Exhibition runs until March 17th.
2. Monday 4th March – all day workshop A Journey Inside Outside with artist Fi Latus (free)
3. Thursday 7th March – Juliet Parker Smith & Linda Windham will run a canoeing session from the canal basin on Thursday 7th March. 11am. All equipment provided (free)
4. Friday 8th March International Women’s Day
World Donkey Day – Julia Blazer of Good Day Out will be leading her Dinky Donkeys on a Donkey walk down the canal tow path supporting Brecon Food Bank. 11am (suggested donation £2)
Evening event – Extraordinary Women Talking – introduced by Juliet Parker Smith with Sian Sykes talking about her 1,000KM paddle board adventure around Wales and Ruth Pickvance of Element-Active discussing adventure in a different way. Tickets £10
5. Saturday 9th March:
Welsh Women Walking will be leading a 5 mile walk from the theatre up to the Iron Age hill fort, Pen y Crug outside Brecon. 9.30am (free)
Live @ The Waterfront – Genevieve (live music) 1pm – 3pm (free)
6. Tuesday 12th March – Ruth Pickvance of Element Active will be running a workshop entitled Re-Framing Fear. 6.30pm (free)
7. Wednesday 13th March – Banff Film night (part of TB normal programme) includes a film on mother daughter duo skiing from Vancouver to Alaska (£13.50)
The Next Tourism Generation Project (NTG) based at Cardiff Metropolitan University is assessing digital and sustainability skills in tourism and hospitality in Wales. Sectors include accommodation, F&B, tour operators and agencies, visitor attractions and destination management. Your views are important and NTG kindly requests that you complete a questionnaire (survey link below). The survey is available in English and Welsh. Participants can select their local area to ensure the results can be analysed at the destination level. The results will be shared with trade associations, local authorities, regional skills partnerships, training and educational organisations to inform future course provision. The survey complies with GDPR regulations and has been ethically approved by the university. The survey link will be live from Monday 14th January to Monday 4th February 2019. Completion of the survey should take about 15 minutes. For further information please contact the NTG team on 02920 416475. Thank you very much for your contribution.
We have received the following message from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority regarding their works at the Gunpowder Works:
"We’ve now completed the building consolidation phase of the project so access to Looney’s Leap shouldn’t be an issue. We still have a year in which to spot any defects so if there is anything that concerns SWOAPG members then please let me know. We hope to start commence felling works in February but these are largely taking place beyond the locked barrier beyond Looney’s Leap so we’ll do everything to minimise disruption. As soon as we have contractors on board we’ll ensure they liaise with you on any access restrictions. However, we hope to finish felling in April so hopefully it won’t prove to be too much of a problem."
We have not received any recent updates on the potential closure of the lane at Pontneddfechan Community Centre. However, we encourage all providers to continue to manage groups carefully along this lane, so as to cause minimal disruption to local residents and to vehicles visiting them – and if the gates are closed at any point, to follow our earlier advice (reproduced below).
South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is liaising with the landowner to try to maintain access , 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.
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.
Wales Adventure Tourism Organisation (WATO)is working in partnership with the Vale of Glamorgan council to review the current and potential interest in provision of outdoor activities at coastal venues along the Heritage Coast.
Wales is experiencing a surge in visitor numbers, particular those in search of outdoor activities. The Vale of Glamorgan has excellent natural coastal assets that are under-utilised, so increasing opportunities for the development of outdoor activities along this excellent natural coastline could bring significant benefit to the coastal communities along the Vale of Glamorgan, including job creation, enhanced well-being and additional revenue for existing businesses.
After a period of consultation, WATO will be hosting a spring event with local activity providers to showcase outdoor activities that are feasible along the coast.
You have been identified as a key stakeholder and we would really value your input into this project.
We would therefore be grateful if you would complete the following survey, by 19 February 2019, to enable us to gather information on the level of activity currently taking place and also to gain insight into the views of stakeholders about coastal outdoor activities in the area:
Many of you will already be aware that the HSE Board has approved the option of an industry-led scheme to replace the current AALA licensing scheme – but that the final decision rests with Parliament and it will take a number of years before we reach a conclusion, Until then, there are no immediate changes to the licensing scheme (and the contract for operating the current scheme will be re-tendered in 2020). 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. More details at https://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/adventureactivitiesnetwork/view?objectId=681669
Following extended consultation with outdoor activity provider representatives, the National Trust has recently announced details of its new, sensible approach to managing events and activities on its land.