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.
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
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, 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.

Important news for gorge users: SWOAPG Membership and Dinas/Sychryd Code of Conduct Training

SWOAPG Membership: “Full Membership” Fees now due

At the SWOAPG Emergency General Meeting on 19 April, Members voted unanimously for the introduction of Membership Fees to ensure SWOAPG’s continued operation, following the withdrawal of Visit Wales funding.

 All Providers who wish to continue using the Sychryd and Mellte gorges under the NRW Waterfalls Country Concordat (or who simply wish to fully support and benefit from SWOAPG’s work) should complete an Application for Full Membership by 31 May (costing £75 until 31 March 2019), for either:

  • Full Individual Membership for Outdoor Activity Providers who are individuals aged 18+, e.g. freelancers or sole traders; or
  • Full Corporate Membership for Outdoor Activity Providers who are organisations or partnerships, including companies, associations, charities, clubs and other incorporated bodies, operating for-profit or not-for-profit.

We will also soon be making available the following membership categories for Providers and other organisations who wish to support SWOAPG but do not require all the benefits of Full Membership:

  • Extra Staff Membership – free of charge for staff of existing Corporate Members (providing additional contact points within the business / organisation)
  • Associate Individual & Corporate Memberships – £25 per year for Providers who do not need or want all membership benefits (no access to the NRW Waterfalls Country Concordat)
  • Youth Membership – free of charge for e.g. freelancers aged under 18
  • Supporter – free of charge for organisations and individuals who support SWOAPG’s aims and objectives, but are not Outdoor Activity Providers
  • Subscriber – free of charge listing for e-mail alerts only
Dinas/Sychryd Code of Conduct Training
Any providers wishing to use Sychryd gorge, who do not currently employ anyone who has attended this training, must attend one of our Code of Conduct Training workshops before using the gorge (which is also suitable as a ‘refresher’ for previous attendees). The next workshop will be:
  • 16th May, 4.45pm at Dinas Rock. £25 per participant (one free place for each Full Member).
Please e-mail to reserve your place.

Valleys Landscape Park – engagement events

The “Valleys Landscape Park” is a Welsh Government initiative to invest in the South Wales Valleys (defined broadly as the area between the M4 and the Brecon Beacons, from Swansea in the West to Newport in the East). Among the aims of the project are making better use of the natural resources in the area for recreation – so
South Wales outdoor activity providers could be well placed to both advise on and benefit from the project.
The Welsh Government is holding three ‘stakeholder engagement events’ in April, which providers with an interest in this area are encouraged to attend: see details below…

“Good Afternoon,

 In his role as Chair of the Valleys Taskforce the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services will visit three areas across the valleys to discuss his proposals for a “Valleys Landscape Park” with community stakeholders.    

 The aims for the proposal are to invest in the Valleys’ natural and cultural assets, empower local communities, offer outstanding and accessible recreational opportunities, engender community pride in the Valleys and enhance Valleys town centres as vibrant places, with attractive green spaces, which support local economies. 

By implementing the actions set out in the plan the Valleys will become a place where communities are empowered, and the local environment is easily accessible, widely used and at the heart of Valleys life.

These events will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to shape the proposal for the Valleys Landscape Park and to influence decisions around statement sites across the Valleys and local community projects with potential for development.

 An agenda is attached.

The dates and venues for the events are included below:

 16 April          Dare Valley Country Park              17:30 – 19:30

 26 April          Bedwellty House and Park            17:30 – 19:30

 30 April          Pontardawe Arts Centre                 17:30 – 19:30

If you are interested in attending one of these events please contact the Valleys Taskforce Team at 

Free illustrated talk on the former Gunpowder Works at Pontneddfechan – 19th April

From Brecon Beacons National Park Authority:

As part of our Lottery Funded Project to save the remains of the former Gunpowder Works at Pontneddfechan, join us for a FREE illustrated talk by Archaeologist Fred Hamond who will bring to life the history of the site from its humble beginnings through to it becoming part of the corporate giant ICI.

Where: Pontneddfechan Village Hall, Min Yr Awel SA11 5ND

When: Thursday 19th April 7pm

For more details​, ​contact or 01874 620481.

 pdf icon gunpowder_poster_the-history-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf

SWOAPG Emergency General Meeting, Garwnant 19 April

Just a reminder to ​register here if you’re planning to attend the​…​

South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group Emergency General Meeting at Garwnant Visitor Centre, 6.30pm Thursday 19 April.

The agenda will include:

  1. Brief updates / reminders of​ the latest activity news in the Brecon Beacons and South Wales;
  2. ​Discussion and Vote on Membership ​Fees;
  3. ​Discussion and Vote on ​forming a Company Limited by Guarantee​; and
  4. Discussion on Clyn Gwyn toilet arrangements and the Glasbury-Hay “Paddle-Permit”.

​The formal agenda and papers for the meeting (including a summary of our survey results and our proposed new Articles of Association) are attached.

All Members and Supporters are encouraged to come and make their voices heard.

For further information, contact

Outdoor Recreation Network Event 18 April: monitoring participation in outdoor recreation

The Outdoor Recreation Network is putting on an interesting event around emerging trends and changing technology for assessing participation in recreation activity, which might be of interest to some SWOAPG members.  Details included on the flyer attached.

Skills Survey & Apprenticeships

Regional Learning and skills Partnerships skills surveys

Outdoor Providers in South West & Mid Wales might like to complete the following survey to ensure that 'skills for the outdoors' are adequately reflected in Welsh Government thinking: The survey is open until 4 June. Apologies for missing a similar SE Wales survey in March.

Apprenticeships in Wales are available for anyone over 16 years of age, and can help you take on new staff to grow your business.  Did you know that apprenticeships are also available to you if you are self-employed or have staff already employed who would like to gain new skills?  The simplest way to find out how an apprenticeship can help your business, is to register your interest on the link and you will be contacted by someone from a training provider in Wales who can tell you more – with no obligation.


Another Welsh Government initiative is The Business Online Support Service (BOSS) offering free online training which can be done as, where and when you want – for example IT, Marketing, Finance courses.


For more information on skills – this is the link to the tourism skills page – including other available training and funding support available to businesses in Wales.