News

Dinas/Sychryd Code of Conduct Training 22 March 4-6pm

SWOAPG is running a Dinas/Sychryd Code of Conduct Training session on Fri 22 March at 4pm – details here.

To book places, log-on to your SWOAPG membership account (via swoapg.com/membership – your username is your e-mail address, you may need to set a password if you've not logged-on before) and 'proceed to payment' where you'll be able to add a booking for this event – or contact coordinator@swoapg.com for details.

This is a Code of Conduct Training session for Providers who are signed-up to the NRW Waterfalls Country Concordat. It is a requirement that a representative from each Provider has attended a Code of Conduct Training session if they wish to use of the area for Gorge Walking.

This session is suitable for both new Providers that are starting to use the gorge, as well as established Providers who would like a refresher or to bring new staff up to speed.

  • Attendees must be either 2018 Full Individual Members or staff from 2018 Full Corporate Members or 2018 Supporters or their staff. Credentials will be checked on booking.

The Sychryd session is based on the paths around the gorge so no in-water kit is required, but we will be undertaking the training whatever the weather, so come prepared.

We will meet at 4pm in the main car park at Dinas Rock.

The cost is £25 per person, but one free space will be available to Providers who have paid for 2018 Full Membership (and who have not already claimed their free place).

RNLI Event, Barry 12 May – call for supporters!

 An Invitation from the RNLI:

"Last May, we held an event on Barry Island that not only promoted and fundraised for the RNLI, but showcased some of the other water sports clubs and activities in the area.  It was a very successful first event, and we attracted many visitors on the day.

"This year we intend to create a larger event on Sunday, 12th May, doubling the number of stalls and broadening the attraction for visitors. In an effort to increase the appeal to a bigger audience, I would like to theme the event “water” and everything to do with it.   This will cover water sports and adventures (on and in the water), how to be safe in and around it and promoting the need to keep it clean and helping the local environment.    So far we have confirmed attendance by:   Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Coastwatch Institution, Marine Conservation Society, angling, SUP and rowing clubs, sailing for the disabled and many more.

"My reason for contacting you now is to enquire whether your company/group – in providing other coastal sports, would be interested in joining us for the day?    

"As this is primarily a fundraising event for the RNLI, we would respectfully ask those taking part to give a donation of £15 per site/stand, all of which will go directly to the Barry Dock Lifeboat!   Or you may wish to organise a fundraising idea for the day?   This will include a car parking space and a gazebo if you do not have your own.

"If it is a great event, it will be repeated year on year – a huge benefit to the “water” community, the Vale and of course our local Lifeboat.  And we are very keen to promote any initiatives that help our environment too.  Please let me know if you are interested asap so that I can book you a slot.   As soon as we know how many are attending, I will organise a meeting nearer the date.  Thank you.

"Hope you can make it – I look forward to hearing from you."

Avril Kitchen
Chair – Barry and Vale Area RNLI Fundraising
E: kitchenavril@gmail.com
M: 07854 400986 

Creating Successful Futures Through Outdoor Learning Conference, 4 April

Recieved from Natural Resources Wales:

Impio Outdoor Learning Wales Network group invites you to attend the ‘Creating Successful Futures through Outdoor Learning’ Conference which will be held at outside at Greenfield Heritage Park, Holywell, Flintshire on the 4th April 2019.

Dust off your wellies, ditch your suit and get your mac out; join members of the Outdoor Learning Wales network to gain inspiration and practical ideas on how the outdoors can be used to deliver and support learning across the Curriculum for Wales.

You will be able to listen to guest speakers and take part in 3 workshops.

Be inspired, learn new skills, take away a wealth of resources and refresh your confidence.

Available workshops based on the 6 Areas for Learning and Experience:

  • Expressive Arts: ‘The Lost Happy Endings’ – bring the book to life with Polly Snape

  • Health and Well-being: ‘Healing Nature’ with Gemma Johnson

  • Humanities: Ethics, beliefs, religion and spirituality within the context of outdoor learning with Greg Woolley of the Egin Conwy OLW Group

  • Languages, literacy and communication: Use the inspiring seasons to create a special memory book with staff from Plas Drew Trust

  • Mathematics and Numeracy: Counting and Coding in Nature with teachers from Ysgol Glan Gele

  • Science and Technology: Surveying and observation with Iwan Edwards of the North Wales Wildlife Trust

Skill Enhancing Workshops:

  • Using mindfulness with groups of children – Why and how to use Mindfulness with groups of any age in the outdoors.

  • Using and maintaining edge tools – A workshop covering the safe use of edge tools – bushcraft knife, pruning saw, axe, draw-knife and billhook. Learn how to store, carry and maintain them.

  • Historic Healers – an over view of a curriculum liked project focusing on the healing and health properties of many common woodland plants

  • Flintshire Eco-Champions – A presentation on the new Environmental Education Programme developed by Plas Derw Trust in conjunction with Flintshire County Counci

Attend 3, get three free – Delegates will have the opportunity to attend 3 workshops but will receive session plans for all 6 AoLE workshops.  Please see the conference booking form for full workshop details.

Organisational marketplace

A marketplace of outdoor education groups, charities and organisations will be held at the Conference.  A one-stop-shop for outdoor learning networking, resources and ideas.  Marketplaces are limited, anyone wishing to secure a space should contact education@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk asap.  Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Lunch and refreshments included plus a chance to explore the park during your lunch break

Cost £30 a delegate

To book a place: Please complete the attached booking form and return it to: education@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk or via the postal address below.

Cheques should be made payable to: Impio Outdoor Learning Wales Network Group and posted to:

Freepost RSAY-KLUZ-HJBC,
Education Team,
Natural Resources Wales,
The Forestry Office,
Clawddnewydd,
Ruthin,
LL15 2NL

Confirmation will be sent out via email once your booking form and cheque have been received.

Waterfalls Country Local Ambassador: Gunpowder and Gorges!

From Brecon Beacons National Park Authority – they may still have spaces on current or future courses:

"As part of our Heritage Lottery Fund project to conserve and celebrate the former Gunpowder Works at Pontneddfechan, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new local ambassador scheme.

"Come the Autumn, the buildings of the former works will be newly conserved, our work to re-establish the native broadleaved woodland will be well underway and the site reopened with the opportunity to explore using digital apps, interpretative signage and sculpture.

"As you are no doubt aware, Waterfall Country has much more to offer too and the National Park Authority with partners, including the local community, have been developing plans to enhance the visitor experience in this popular area.

"We would love you to join us for a two day session so that we can bring you up to date and your visitors to the area can benefit from your knowledge. The two days will give you the opportunity to learn about the historic and natural wonders of Waterfall Country, hear the latest plans for improvements and explore the area with speakers from Cadw, the National Park Authority and independent ecology experts.

"Each day will begin at 10am and finish no later than 4pm. Whilst we are sadly not able to provide lunch, tea, coffee and biscuits will be available. Our base will be the village hall in Pontneddfechan.

"Please see attached a programme for more detail. Participants will be provided with a certificate, will have the opportunity to be featured on the Gunpowder Works webpages and be able to take home a resource pack."

To find out more or to book places please contact Ruth Coulthard via email ruth.coulthard@beacons-npa.gov.uk or by telephone 01874 620481.

Discouted course ‘Fostering a Connection’ Stackpole 16 March

Discounted course for SWOAPG Members:

Please find attached a flyer for a course that members might be interested in.  It’s called ‘Fostering a Connection’ and was designed specifically with outdoor learning providers in mind by Joe Roberts (Natural Resources Wales), Lun Roberts (ER Outdoors) and Jim Langley (Nature's Work) in response to an Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) initiative.  The usual price is £50 for a 9 to 5 one day course, but the one held at Stackpole Centre Pembrokeshire on March 16th is available to your members at a discounted price of £30.   

The course offers an opportunity to try out games, quizzes and other activities designed to help foster clients’ / pupils’ connection to the environment, and to discuss these new ideas with fellow practitioners and teachers so as to develop practice.  Connection can take place on many levels (intellectually, practically, emotionally, spiritually, through our senses and through our creativity) and the activities on offer reflect this diversity.   This course does not try to teach field studies or ask people to become walking encyclopaedias of flora and fauna. Instead it offers activities which can be fitted seamlessly into existing outdoor sessions.   An e-manual of teaching resources is included in the price.  This workshop is recognized as CPD for members of the Mountain Training Association and the Association of Mountain Instructors.  A picnic or barbeque lunch is included.

Fixe climbing chains

We have received this message from Princes Trust:

"Please see the attached link below. We were made aware this yesterday as part of our Glasgow AALS inspection.

https://www.theuiaa.org/mountaineering/safety-alert-for-fixe-lower-offs/

"I understand there has been situations where some of these chains have failed with potential disastrous consequences.

"Suggestion from AALS was to contact any organisations with any artificial indoor and outdoor climbing facilities who may use these type of chains. Get something in writing from them to confirm they are not using these type of chains before using their facilities." 

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority – Draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan

The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority published in December its Draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan. The Plan is the means by which the Authority will plan strategically for the management, development, integration and promotion of the rights of way network, and other land to which the public has access, within the National Park, over the next 10 years.

The Authority is consulting on the Draft Plan for a 3 month period and this comes to an end on the 17th March 2019.

If you have not submitted any comments, we would welcome your input as the views of the public are crucial to help the Authority determine how it should manage public access in the future.

Details of the Draft Plan and how to respond are available at this address: https://www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/environment/planning-access-and-row/draft-rights-of-way-improvement-plan-2018/

If you have any queries about the Draft Plan or how to respond please contact the Authority on 01874 624437 or row@beacons-npa.gov.uk

SWOAPG response to Powys consultation on canoe launching at Glasbury

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!).

You can access the consultation at https://en.powys.gov.uk/article/6689/Upper-Glas-y-Bont-Survey (or e-mail sian.barnes@powys.gov.uk if you’re not precious about anonymity).

Steve Rayner, SWOAPG Coordinator

Glasbury Canoe Launch Proposals from Powys County Council

Powys County Council has formally announced its consultation exercise on “options for management of canoe launching from Upper Glas-y-Bont common”.

The Council is now inviting detailed responses (by Sun 17 Feb) to a number of ideas (see below). Information about the consultation and a survey for response can be found on the Council website at https://en.powys.gov.uk/article/6689/Upper-Glas-y-Bont-Survey.

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:

    1. Water level indicators – Launching would only be permitted above a certain level; that could affect all canoeists, whether they are commercial operators or not.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. A central management scheme funded by financial contributions, to cover the costs of monitoring and enforcement. This would apply to commercial operators only.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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”)
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Reduced ‘Launching Window’ for unguided groups only on peak days. This would apply to groups launched by commercial operators only.