Park wardens in Snowdonia are being ‘abused’ by visitors who are travelling to Welsh beauty spot from Tier 4 areas in England despite police pleas to stay away
- Non-essential travel in Wales is banned and breaking rules leads to £60 fine
- Police has said its officers have been turning people away from Milton Keynes
- Some car park wardens have received abuse from people visiting Snowdon
Park wardens in Snowdonia are reportedly being abused by visitors who are travelling to the Welsh beauty spot from Tier 4 areas despite pleas to stay away.
Non-essential travel in Wales is banned and any exercise has to start as soon as a person leaves their house.
And breaking Covid lockdown rules can end with a £60, which increases to £120 for a second offence.
North Wales Police said its officers have been turning people, some who have come from as far as Milton Keynes in London, away who are trying to walk up the mountain.
Park wardens in Snowdonia are reportedly being abused by visitors who are travelling to the Welsh beauty spot from Tier 4 areas despite pleas to stay away. Pictured: Officers in Snowdonia
North Wales Police blasted New Year’s Day walkers (the force’s tweet, pictured) who flocked to snow-covered Snowdonia National Park to scale Wales’ biggest mountain
All of Wales is under Alert Level 4, the harshest set of lockdown restrictions imposed by the country’s devolved Government and equivalent to England’s Tier 4. Pictured: Cars parked in Snowdonia as visitors flocked to the beauty spot
Non-essential travel in Wales is banned and any exercise has to start as soon as a person leaves their house. Pictured: Cars parked by Snowdon
The car park for Snowdonia National Park has remained open as its closure could lead to illegal parking exclusion of those with mobility issues.
The Snowdonia National Park Authority told the BBC: ‘Closing car parks can lead to unauthorised parking on roads, so we are keeping them open at the moment.
‘The mountains are open for people to be able to exercise from their front doors. Keeping car parks open allows people with mobility issues to exercise as well.
‘We are working closely with police and Gwynedd council and we are reviewing it constantly.’
She added that the car park at Pen y Pass has been overseen by wardens during the festive period.
The top tier limits travel into Wales to essential only – such as for work – meaning travelling from England for a walk in against the law. Pictured: A police car stationed in Snowdonia
Snowdonia National Park’s Twitter page issued a similar warning on December 28, writing: ‘Although the snow does look pretty on the mountains the current Welsh Government guidelines say people should only travel if it’s essential’
However, she revealed that ‘they are getting some abuse, which is a shame’.
She said its busiest car park, at Pen y Pass near Snowdon, had been overseen by wardens over the Christmas and New Year period, but in a more educational role than in previous years.
‘Places like Pen y Pass are usually manned anyway but their role has changed slightly. They are getting some abuse, which is a shame,’ she continued.
‘We are adopting a similar approach to police: engaging with people, asking what their plans are then educating them.
‘The majority of the time people are going ‘I misunderstood that’, or people are saying ‘I’m doing what I want anyway’.’
An intensive care doctor has hit out at crowds of people visiting the Brecon Beacons despite Wales’ nationwide lockdown. Pictured: Cars parked below Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in southern Britain
It comes just two days after police slammed ‘selfish’ Tier 4 tourists who flouted lockdown to climb Snowdon.
Officers blasted Bank Holiday walkers who journeyed up to 270 miles to snow-covered Snowdonia National Park to scale Wales’ biggest mountain.
Hikers traveled from as far away as Kent, Southampton and Solihull, the force revealed on Twitter.
Images of parked cars lining the streets of the picturesque Welsh beauty spot came as countless ramblers flocked to London’s Richmond Park for a brisk winter stroll.
Long queues of cars snaked through the popular walking spot and nearby carparks appeared jam-packed as eager revellers took to the outdoors on the first day of 2021.
Wales has been in a nationwide Level 4 lockdown since 20 December, with restrictions also tightened for Christmas Day
All of Wales is under Alert Level 4, the harshest set of lockdown restrictions imposed by the country’s devolved Government and equivalent to England’s Tier 4.
The top tier limits travel into Wales to essential only – such as for work – meaning travelling from England for a walk is against the law.
The Welsh Government also encourages exercise to ‘be done locally’.
Furthermore, all three areas listed by North Wales Police are under England’s Tier 4 lockdown which also imposes travel restrictions.
People under England’s highest-tier lockdown can only leave their Tier 4 area for essential reasons – such as for work or medical care.
Exercise outdoors is permitted under the rules, but this must be done alone, within a household or with one other person – if social distancing is maintained.
Southampton is around 240 miles from Snowdonia and Solihull, in the West Midlands, is 120 miles away.
Dr Hepburn, a consultant in the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, said he could understand why people want to visit beauty spots but he warned it was in most cases against the rules
North Wales Police wrote on Twitter: ‘Patrols continue across North Wales and we are working closely with our colleagues.
‘Several reported for Covid-19 breaches already today – with some travelling here from as far as Southampton, Kent and Sollihull.
‘Please do not travel for exercise.’
Snowdonia National Park’s Twitter page added: ‘Remember: Exercise should start and finish from home. Keep Wales safe.’
The account issued a similar warning on December 28, writing: ‘Although the snow does look pretty on the mountains the current Welsh Government guidelines say people should only travel if it’s essential.
‘No journeys of any significant distance should be taken, for example, just in order to exercise in the countryside or at beauty spots.’
Earlier this week, hikers from different households in England travelled more than 75 miles in a minibus together to climb a Welsh mountain.
Police said the walkers were from mixed households and had travelled from Cheltenham to South Wales for a hike.
Under Level 4 restrictions, nearly all people are banned from mixing with other households both indoors and outdoors and travel into the country for non-essential purposes is banned.
On the Welsh Government’s website, a Q&A section asks: ‘I do not live in Wales, can I travel to Wales for a holiday or to visit family and friends?’
The answer states: ‘Travel is limited to essential travel only when alert level 4 restrictions are in place, for example travelling for work purposes or to return home.’
The hikers’ minibus was one of more than 300 vehicles parked at the foot of Pen-Y-Fan mountain in the Brecon Beacons, which had received a dusting of snow.
Intensive care medic Dr David Hepburn said he was ‘very disappointed’ to see the mass of cars parked.
Pen-Y-Fan is the highest peak in south Wales and popular with visitors wanting to reach the 2,907ft summit.
Police said they issued fixed penalty notices for ‘blatant’ breaches of lockdown rules and many other visitors had turned away.
And while Dr Hepburn, a consultant in the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, said he could understand why people want to visit beauty spots, he warned it was in most cases against the rules.
He added that it was still unclear what impact Christmas had had on case numbers.
‘All the hospitals across the health board are now very, very full,’ he told the BBC.
‘In terms of the intensive care unit actually where we’re managing to sort of hold our footprint, and we haven’t exploded, you know we haven’t burst our banks as yet.
‘But we’ve still got quite a lot of time to go before this pandemic is under control, so really anything could happen over the next month or so.’
He added: ‘We don’t want to lose any more friends, loved ones, neighbours. I don’t want to watch anyone else die from this cruel disease, and I’ve done that more than I can count.’
Dr Hepburn was himself ‘wiped out’ by coronavirus in March, leaving him bedridden and asleep for up to 18 hours a day.
Wales has been in a nationwide Level 4 lockdown since 20 December, with restrictions also tightened for Christmas Day.
The rules state that people must not visit other households, or meet other people they do not live with.
Travelling is only allowed for essential purposes, such as for work and for caring responsibilities. International travel is also not allowed.
People are still allowed out of their homes to exercise, for unlimited times and periods each day, and exercise should start and finish at your home.
Inspector Andrew Williams said: ‘We are carrying out high-visibility patrols at Pen y Fan and engaging with people to remind them of their responsibilities to adhere to Welsh Government lockdown restrictions.
‘There are a couple of hundred vehicles in the area.
‘Officers have spoken to one man who had driven from Hertfordshire to walk up the mountain, while a minibus of people from mixed households had travelled from Cheltenham.
‘Fixed penalty notices have and will be issued to those blatant breaches where engagement fails, but the vast majority of people are listening to advice and when they are turning up and seeing RPU vehicles at the site, they are turning around and going home – which is the objective of our high visibility patrols.’
Aled Davies, the Conservative deputy leader of Powys County Council, said he was ‘not angry… just disappointed’ to see people driving out to the rural areas of south Wales.
Mr Davies said: ‘I can understand why people want to get out into the fresh air’ but that ‘the rules are very, very clear around this’.
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