Snowdon visitors urged to book or take park and ride

Visitors to Snowdonia may have to pre-book their car in future as part of plans to reduce congestion.

Walkers in Snowdonia
Walkers in Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) is considering a range of solutions to address chronic parking problem.

It said failure to act is “not an option” – especially following chaotic parking scenes on Snowdon this summer as lockdown was eased.

Park bosses want to control the influx of visitors that came into the area once the lockdown restrictions are eased.

Tens of thousands headed to north Wales in the summer, many of them from across the border in Shropshire and the West Midlands, as well as North West England.

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A transport and parking study for Snowdon and Ogwen, published last month, explained plans to control numbers.

It states: “The long-term-vision is to make the special landscape more accessible to non car-based visitors – and to enable people arriving by car to access the area and its attractions by alternative means. It seeks to change the social norms so that people no longer expect to drive directly to, and park in the inner area of the special landscape.”

SNPA’s four-year vision will not stop car-based tourism in the most popular areas. However, visitors will be strongly encouraged to use new and larger park-and-ride facilities at “gateway” sites that surround Snowdon and the Ogwen Valley. The authority also envisages a fleet of zero carbon buses and seasonal parking management in the park’s ‘inner area’, with options for pre-booking.

A pre-booking pilot was carried out at Pen-y-Pass car park in late summer. Over two weekends 60 parking spots were offered for each two day-time slots running from 8am-8pm.

Released at midnight on the preceding Wednesday, all these spots were sold out by Thursday lunchtime.

At the same time park-and-ride services from Llanberis to Pen-y-Pass were expanded to run every 15 minutes at weekends.

SNPA partnerships manager Angela Jones said both arrangements had significantly cut the number of parking violations.

“On the whole the responses we received from visitors was very positive,” she said.

“Those arriving from further afield were particularly happy to secure a guaranteed parking spot as, previously, the car park filled up before they could arrive.”

The plan comes after scores of parking tickets were issued to motorists parking on roads around Snowdon. A number of cars were also towed away after main routes were blocked, despite repeated appeals.

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