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'Like the Alamo': Staff under siege as hordes ignore signs at Llanrhaeadr Waterfall

By Nick Humphreys | Mid Wales | News | Published:

The descending of selfie-grabbing hordes on a stunning waterfall was "like the Alamo" according to its caretaker - who insists its time for visitors to pay up and show respect.

Tens of thousands of people have visited Pistyll Rhaeadr since lockdown restrictions eased

More than 3,000 people turned up at Pistyll Rhaeadr on Saturday, and the masses turned out again on Sunday, causing gridlock on the roads and forcing gatekeepers to close the site.

The picturesque 73-metre-high waterfall near the village of Llanrhaeadr has proved incredibly popular since lockdown restrictions were eased, with people travelling long distances to visit the falls on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains.

Workers found themselves collecting sackfuls of rubbish discarded by picnickers, while also being ignored by people who clambered over the gates despite being told they couldn't go in.

Staff and volunteers have struggled to clear all of the rubbish left behind

Now crunch talks have been arranged for this Friday to formulate a plan to ease the congestion and solve the headache for villagers and staff.

Phil Facey, caretaker at the waterfall, said: "On Sunday, for the first time, I shut the whole complex down. The day before we had 3,000 people. The road was gridlocked back to the village.

"In the last 24 hours we've collected 52 bags of rubbish. We've got thousands of people coming and picnicking, leaving their rubbish and walking away. It's a similar story all over Wales.

"Yesterday was my Alamo. We had thousands of people parking their cars and walking up. I gave up.

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Phil Facey at the waterfall when visitors were not allowed due to coronavirus

"A lot of the people who have been coming cannot speak English. We tried to tell them they couldn't go up but they ignored us and climbed over the gates, which had been sealed off.

"A couple of weeks ago an imam declared it holy and now we've got a lot of Asian people coming. We've even got 20-40 cars turning up at 1am."

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The meeting is being held at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel in the village on Friday at 4pm to discuss ways to sort the problem out. The waterfall team, Powys County Council and disgruntled residents will be among those in attendance.

Roads were closed at the popular Pistyll Rhaeadr as traffic came to a halt. Photo: Marcin Michałek

Phil added: "People are leaving rubbish strewn everywhere and they're not putting any resource back into the village. They're using the facilities but not paying.

"Normally our busiest time is the August bank holiday, but the last 25 days we've been open since lockdown, we've been 50 per cent busier than we would be on our usual busiest time.

"It's always had three public entrances that can be accessed for free. We need to introduce by-laws to stop people using them and we need to introduce a PCN system so people have to pay to drive up the road. That would reduce the traffic instantly, and put a bit of income back into the village.

"People need to start treating the waterfall and the village with a bit of respect."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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