Shropshire Star

Tourists urged to respect Welsh countryside and avoid repeat of overcrowding and littering

New campaign urges holidaymakers to respect Wales' natural wonders as nation prepares for fresh rush of visitors

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One of the waterfall walks to be found in the beautiful Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes

Holidaymakers from the West Midlands are being targeted in a campaign urging people to respect the natural wonders of Wales.

National Resources Wales is urging visitors to respect its open spaces as it prepares for a fresh rush from across the border.

Overcrowding and littering marred last year's easing of lockdown, with authorities resorting to the mass ticketing of cars parked on narrow roads through Snowdonia.

Beaches, crowded with holidaymakers, were also left filled with litter that people had failed to dispose of properly.

National Resources Wales’ woodland trails and National Nature Reserves in Mid Wales have remained open over the most recent lockdown period, with social distancing measures in place.

With more people expected to explore beyond their local surroundings as travel restrictions are lifted, Natural Resources Wales is urging visitors to adhere to the Countryside Code.

It says the message is clear: "Respect, protect and enjoy the natural environment of Wales."

A spokesman said: "After months of staying at home to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, millions of people across the UK are longing to escape to the countryside for a holiday or short break.

"There’s no better place to relax and immerse oneself in beautiful countryside and spectacular scenery than Mid Wales, the rural heartland of Wales.

"We believe the area offers something for everyone. From the rivers, lakes and mountains of Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park to the stunning Cardigan Bay coastline, the Cambrian Mountains and the foothills of Snowdonia, the region is packed with places and things to see and do.

"But we ask people to follow the rules to help us keep the area unspoilt and safe."

Midlanders are expected to flock to Wales.

The advice includes:

  • Plan ahead - check what is open and closed before you set out. Pack hand sanitiser and face masks

  • Avoid the crowds – choose a quiet place to visit. Make a ‘plan B’ in case your destination is too busy

  • Park responsibly – respect the local community by using car parks. Do not park on verges or block emergency access routes

  • Follow guidance – comply with site signs and Covid 19 safety measures to enjoy your visit safely

  • Take your litter home – protect wildlife and the environment by leaving no trace of your visit.

  • Follow the Countryside Code – stick to trails, leave gates as you find them, keep dogs under control, bag and bin dog poo and do not light fires.

Mid Wales has long been the playground for people in the West Midlands and Shropshire, both for day trips and holidays.

National Resources Wales says for those seeking a family day out, there is Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth, which has red kite feeding every day, easy walking trails, including one suitable for pushchairs, a new off-road cycle trail and a takeaway service from the café.

Tan y Coed woodland in Dyfi Forest, near Machynlleth offers an easy to find picnic site with two short woodland walks with an animal discovery trail with animal models hidden in the trees.

And for those seeking an activity day out, Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre is a great place for running and mountain biking trails, while the Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes has an eight mile walk to the source of the River Severn.

Further north near Dolgellau is Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre, a famous mountain bike centre with trails for all abilities as well as walks, picnic sites and a takeaway service from the café.

Visitors who use wheelchairs can enjoy two very different trails in Mid Wales. Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, near Tregaron has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk over a vast raised bog and Hafren Forest’s waterfall walks include a wheelchair accessible boardwalk to a viewing area over cascades.

For waterfall walks, head to Hafren Forest which offers walks of varying lengths, one of which is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs, while Hafod Estate, near Aberystwyth has a historic landscape with a range of walks taking in dramatic waterfalls and views.

The spokesman added: "For those wishing to explore off the beaten track, Mid Wales has a selection of woodlands to choose from. When it comes to bluebells, the woodland walk at Gogerddan Wood, near Aberystwyth is a must at this time of year."

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