Gorge Walking

Gorge-Walking in ‘Waterfall Country’ – Dinas / Sychryd and Mellte Gorges

“Organised groups can gain permission to operate in the area from Natural Resources Wales through agreement with a Concordat”

The land within ‘Waterfall Country’ is owned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA) and a number of private landowners. While much of the site is designated Open Access land, this only allows for general public access on foot, not commercial or otherwise organised activities. Private land may not be fenced or marked but there is no right of access to these areas.

Organised groups can gain permission to operate in the area from Natural Resources Wales either by:

  •  through agreement with a Concordat; or
  • applying directly to NRW via their bureaucratic and costly ‘Woodlands and You‘ permitting scheme.

As much of the area in and around the gorges is legally protected for the high quality and rarity of its habitats, activity groups must follow simple Codes of Conduct to minimise the environmental impact of a visit. Compliance with these Codes is a requirement of being permitted to access the sites.

This Concordat and the accompanying Code of Conduct and guidelines were developed between representatives of Outdoor Activity Providers and BBNPA and NRW working collaboratively. This work took place from 2008, with Seminars in January 2009 and May 2010 and the finalised Concordat was one of the key factors in the launch of SWOAPG in July 2010.

Outdoor Providers wishing to use the Sychryd Gorge and the Lower Mellte for Gorge Walking are required to first join SWOAPG (including sign-up to the Concordat to enable them to use the site with Landowner permission), then complete Sychryd & Lower Mellte Code of Conduct training. For the Upper Mellte a separate Upper Mellte Code of Conduct training must be completed, as well as an AALS licence or technical advisors statement.

This agreement and collaborative approach to environmentally sustainable use of a SSSI and SAC by Activity Providers was the first of its kind in the UK and has been a template for what can be achieved by working together.

Registered Gorge-Walking Providers

The following table lists the providers who are currently registered with us to use the Sychryd & Lower Mellte (“Sychryd”) and / or Upper Mellte (“Mellte”) gorges (and have agreed to publish their information on this website – for contact details see our Full Members list):

NB providers are listed by default in random order. Last updated 27 Oct 2023.

Business / organisation nameGorges
Longtown Outdoor Learning TrustSychryd
Swansea CouncilSychryd & Mellte
Call of the Wild LtdSychryd & Mellte
RipnRock LtdSychryd & Mellte
Black Mountain ActivitiesSychryd & Mellte
South Wales Adventure CompanySychryd
Hawk Adventures / Hawk AssociatesSychryd & Mellte
Maes y Lade CentreSychryd
Fairways Outdoor AdventuresSychryd
Parkwood Outdoors DolygaerSychryd
Outdoors @HaySychryd
Parc Bryn BachSychryd
Rock UK Summit CentreSychryd & Mellte
Steve Rayner Outdoor PursuitsSychryd
Baywater AdventuresSychryd & Mellte
NPTC group of collegesSychryd
Positif CareSychryd & Mellte
Cardiff International White WaterSychryd
Wye Adventures LtdSychryd
Forest Adventure LtdSychryd
Trewern Outdoor CentreSychryd
Mountain and River Activities LtdSychryd
Blue Ocean ActivitiesSychryd
Wye Not AdventureSychryd & Mellte
Morfa Bay AdventureSychryd
The Birches A O CSychryd & Mellte
Quest Adventure Activities LtdSychryd & Mellte
Oxfordshire OutdoorsSychryd & Mellte
Outdoor MattersSychryd
Savage AdventuresSychryd & Mellte
University of South WalesSychryd
Anturfit LtdSychryd & Mellte
Life Changing ActivitiesSychryd & Mellte
Atlantic ExperienceSychryd & Mellte
Storey Arms Outdoor Education CentreSychryd & Mellte
Blue Dot AdventureSychryd
Argoed Lwyd Outdoor Education CentreSychryd & Mellte