People planning a visit to the Brecon Beacons popular Waterfall Country this bank holiday are being urged to avoid it after hundreds of visitors were turned away in recent weeks.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is calling on potential visitors to reconsider their plans, after the beauty spot has been overwhelmed with people since lockdown measures were eased.
Due to the “extremely high” volume of visitors, social distancing has become increasingly difficult, and illegal parking has soared, according to Councillor Gareth Ratcliffe, Chair of the National Park Authority.
This comes after Waterfall Country has seen a huge increase in visitors since lockdown restrictions were lifted, leading to growing concerns of overcrowding.
High visitor numbers have led to an inability to social distance on the narrow footpaths to the waterfalls, and car parks have been filling up by mid-morning.
As a result, people from all over the UK have been turned away due to a lack of space, and cars which were parked illegally blocking residents’ access and roads, were towed away.
Cllr Ratcliffe urged visitors to avoid Waterfall Country this weekend, and instead visit the beauty spot later in the year, or use this opportunity to explore somewhere new.
Cllr Ratcliffe said: “We have been experiencing an exceptionally high number of visitors to Waterfall Country in recent weeks.
“While we are delighted that so many people want to come and enjoy our unparalleled scenery, we would urge those planning to visit this weekend to avoid the falls and instead visit later in the year.
“We have been growing increasingly worried with the soaring numbers of visitors, which has overwhelmed our footpaths and car parks.
“In recent weeks we have been forced to turn away a large number of visitors from across the UK, to prevent overcrowding and a serious risk to public health and safety.
“While we appreciate this has been disappointing for those affected, we have taken these steps to protect the safety of our visitors, and safeguard the surrounding natural and residential areas.
“Our car parks have been filling up quickly, with illegal parking on roads and outside homes becoming an issue and obstructing traffic. We are working very closely with the Police and Highways Authorities so those who continue to do this, risk fines, enforcement action and even seeing their vehicle towed away.
“We’d encourage all our visitors to park in our designated car parks, and to check parking availability in advance via https://carpark.beacons-npa.gov.uk/ bearing in mind that car parks can go from having spaces to being full within an hour.
“We would like to thank all our visitors for their support during this highly unprecedented time, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back later in the year.”
In a bid to support people during, and ahead of, visits the National Park Authority has released a Code of Conduct, encouraging people to enjoy the Brecon Beacons responsibly and safely.
It calls on visitors to be sure they adhere to Welsh Government guidance and social distancing, be supportive to ensure tourism remains safe, and ensure they stay safe, plan ahead, practice good hand hygiene, protect the countryside against littering, and avoid the park if someone has coronavirus symptoms.