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Camping on NRW land, complaint received by CAL

aricooperdavis

Moderator
I don't know why more people don't use proper B&Bs - they're cheaper than buying or renting a cara/camper-van, more comfortable, more sociable, and help support the local economy. They can break up multi-day camping trips, and are a way of experiencing the real people who live in the place you're exploring. And more and more are becoming dog friendly, which is great from my perspective.
 

ttxela2

Active member
I don't know why more people don't use proper B&Bs - they're cheaper than buying or renting a cara/camper-van, more comfortable, more sociable, and help support the local economy. They can break up multi-day camping trips, and are a way of experiencing the real people who live in the place you're exploring. And more and more are becoming dog friendly, which is great from my perspective.
I certainly used to like B&B's however I'm not sure they are really cheaper, at least compared to what we have, which is a 30 year old camper I paid £5k for 5 years ago. I do most of the maintenance on it myself and we tend to stay on the small 5 van farm type sites usually for around £15/night. We certainly get to meet just as many local people as we used to when using B&B's.

The other advantage to us is that for various health reasons my wife is more comfortable with our own facilities always available.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
I struggle with B&B as I might turn up late, or return at some strange hour, so I try to stay at hotels that have 24 hour reception.. In the past I've turned up with a mate totally filthy, wet and ragged at 03:00 at Porthmadog Travelodge to check into our rooms for a 1 night stay and the night reception person has looked slightly puzzled but never a problem. Not sure that'd be so popular in a family run small B&B.

You used to be able to find cheaper rates if you went "fishing" on the booking system, like £40 a night. Recently though places like Travelodge Colwyn Bay (for Gwydir) or Travelodge Porthmadog (for Moelwynion and Manod) seem to have no cheap dates in the system. Not sure why things are prohibitiously expensive currently. Maybe that's a factor in the "Mr Indiscrete" incident over at Hafna car park.
 

ttxela2

Active member
I struggle with B&B as I might turn up late, or return at some strange hour, so I try to stay at hotels that have 24 hour reception.. In the past I've turned up with a mate totally filthy, wet and ragged at 03:00 at Porthmadog Travelodge to check into our rooms for a 1 night stay and the night reception person has looked slightly puzzled but never a problem. Not sure that'd be so popular in a family run small B&B.
Indeed - I recall turning the lovely pristine fluffy white towels a rather fetching shade of orange at a B&B in Betwsy-Coed, only realised what was happening once it was too late......

In fact some sections of the carpet in the van have developed an interesting ocherous hue.....
 

Llanigraham

New member
There appears to be a concerted campaign by NRW to stop over night camping on their land at the moment.
Arond here nearly all their car aprks now have signs banning overnight parking and it is being policed by them and the Police. Much of this seems to have been caused by indescrimate dumping of both litter and effluent in car parks, and of reports of rowdy behaviour and noise, plus damage to equipment and trees.
 
Oh no! I hope they don't ban overnight parking at Pont ar Elan. Otherwise where would you park to stay at https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/bothies/wales/lluest-cwmbach/
Regarding Gwydir Forest, there is a traffic research project (NRW, Nat Park, County Councils) going on post-Covid about traffic on minor roads and camping, motorhomes etc in this area, as well as overwhelming day usage. The more observant of you will have noticed rubber strip Metrocount vehicle counters all over the place in the GF and big rocks blocking off forestry roads from use by visitors for day parking, and so on. I don’t think I’m giving away any State Secrets to share with you all that the Llyn Geirionydd car park (next to Pandora mine) has seen the number of vehicles in August double from 2500 pre-Covid to 5000 since Covid. That’s average 150 and max of 300 PER AUGUST DAY last year. I’m guessing the car park has 30 bays. I’ve yet to get hold of the summer 2022 data.

Freshwater West is another hot spot (handy for Ogof Gofan etc) where the council has put up No Campervan signs at potential overnight parking places in a war against countryside users of a certain kind. It’s reached the stage that the signs are being daubed over with black paint and/or turned through 180 degrees so they can’t be read looking from the roadside.

The amount of roadside parking, even just to go mountain walking at places like Tryfan, has also doubled since Covid with vehicles now parked solid on both sides of the A5 where before it used to be the south side only.

I’m told by someone in the caravan business that there are fewer caravan park pitches for overnighting in Wales than there are campervans in Wales now, and that’s not addressing the problem of finding a pitch when and where you want it.

As to hotels, pubs and guest houses. Travelodge is still reasonable at £60 a night, but no breakfast, if that’s your idea of reasonable. I stayed in one a couple of nights ago. The night after that I was in a quality pub which cost £45 B&B (on a last minute booking) where the other pub just over the road, which I have to say is rubbish as I’ve tried it before when it cost less than half their new asking price of £110 for a meagre offering. Campsites are now often asking something upwards of £30 for a tent pitch (fixed price for unlimited occupants) which makes no sense if you are solo traveller.

I think to some extent NRW and NPA staff are going off the wall through frustration as nobody has a clue what to do about any of this other than lash out against anyone and everyone that they can find and identify without investing much effort. But confliction, as ever, won't solve anything.
 
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tomferry

Active member
the sheer volume of people visiting the area is through the roof and finding a parking place is frustrating I no the feeling, I see why people give up and stick it anywhere ! I think the best solution is to find a terrible spot as close as possible to the main attraction and bite the bullet clear it hardcore .install a large car park with reasonable cost meters for nrw to reclaim the cost and to start maintaining the roads they have in the gf, traffic is only ever going to get worse the damage being caused by people parking everywhere will add up far greater than clearing one spot of poor land and this area will give back some money to maintain other areas they will not ever get enough funding to maintain all them terrible roads.
 

Fjell

Active member
People going on holiday abroad is economically wholly negative as far as the government is concerned (tens of billions negative on the current account). Their cunning plan to address this via the current arrangements for travel to Europe has exceeded their wildest expectations. It’s all gravy.
 
... install a large car park with reasonable cost meters for nrw to reclaim the cost and to start maintaining the roads they have in the gf ...

NRW would just love to install more parking meters. They're doing exactly that in the form of ANPR cameras at places like Newborough Forest, Coed y Brenin, and soon arriving at Moel Famau. They've been told by their paymasters, the Welsh Government, to become more financially self-sufficient. NRW are also closing some offices, assigning affected staff to new roles, ending commercial contracts, and generally showing the classic signs of financial stress.

There's a bit of a mix-up in the quoted comment above. Public roads and parking on them are the responsibility of the local council which in the case of the GF is Conwy (not NRW). Conwy seem quite reasonable people. So, for example, you can still park for free on the A5 for Tryfan and the Glyders etc, and on Conwy's bit of the A4086 near the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel (for Snowdon etc walking) whereas the neighbouring county charges a high price for parking not much further along the same road via machines now encased inside what looks like an industrial scale Chubb Safe. They must have had some 'issues'...

Going back to my example of Llyn Gerionydd which its lovely beach, gentle gradients for child-friendly paddling, boat launching point, and grassy picnic area provisioned with wooden tables right next to NRW's free car park with maintained toilets - but only 30 parking bays - how could you possibly physically expand the parking bay area let alone get planning permission for that at a sensitive location in a national park? The lake on one side, a steep hillside on the other.

I suppose it's simplistic to say that you reap what you sow. Heavy-handed Covid lockdowns, with time on people's hands has encouraged local countryside forays by people who've never gone exploring before; and having got to like taking a walk now many folks are venturing further afield, but not so far as foreign holidays with all their associated hassles and costs and now disruption from 1970s-style strikes. Add to that the rapidly inflating costs of UK hotels, B&B and camping, is it surprising that people wish to camp informally?

The officialdom response of putting up "No Campervan" signs and prosecuting the odd unfortunate easy target is going to achieve absolutely nothing (putting it politely). All it will do is up the ante and invite retaliation. The world has changed since Covid and now Ukraine. You can't turn the clock back. So just get over it - and that includes NRW's more activist staff and hostile county councils.
 

tomferry

Active member
NRW would just love to install more parking meters. They're doing exactly that in the form of ANPR cameras at places like Newborough Forest, Coed y Brenin, and soon arriving at Moel Famau. They've been told by their paymasters, the Welsh Government, to become more financially self-sufficient. NRW are also closing some offices, assigning affected staff to new roles, ending commercial contracts, and generally showing the classic signs of financial stress.

Going back to my example of Llyn Gerionydd which its lovely beach, gentle gradients for child-friendly paddling, boat launching point, and grassy picnic area provisioned with wooden tables right next to NRW's free car park with maintained toilets - but only 30 parking bays - how could you possibly physically expand the parking bay area let alone get planning permission for that at a sensitive location in a national park? The lake on one side, a steep hillside on the other.

I have removed the part I am not replying to directly and left the areas my “ideas” are about.

Regarding the nrw I no we deal with these for our access which they have very kindly been good with “overall”. I have never studied there business in depth though so I shall have to look into this more, it does not suprise me though the financial issues it’s happening everywhere and there is no point in getting into this. If I remember correctly nrw do the water monitoring also I believe around the mines?

Regarding Llyn gerionydd you have gave a very good example of a fantastic spot which would be hard to develop, my only idea would be the opposite end of lake to the klondyke mill, I think there was a section of not much importance in-between the Pandora mill area and the lake ?

In my ideas of future hope for the area & clean roads people would park there on a rough car park pay a small fee to give funding for the area “toilets”benches” etc and have to walk down to the lake. I believe road side verge damage will carry on with the odd car getting stuck until something is sorted, obviously yes planning is a major issue but overall it needs weighing up endless damage with the risk of crashes due to parked cars in silly places but no other options or a area of what I believe is not of important significance but others might deem this important mmmm ? A very tough one .
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
It's not so much having a campervan or similar but the way you use. The Outer Hebrides islands were quite welcoming a couple of years when we travelled from Lewis to Barra. A leaflet was available at the ferry terminal in Ullapool detailing the do's and dont's. Primarily dispose of rubbish sensibly, chemical dump where indicated and park anywhere so long as you aren't in somebody's way.
 

tomferry

Active member
. A leaflet was available at the ferry terminal in Ullapool detailing the do's and dont's. Primarily dispose of rubbish sensibly, chemical dump where indicated and park anywhere so long as you aren't in somebody's way.

Now that is clear good advice which I would give a 10/10 it’s simple and effective if you break the rules after that you deserve a fine :clap:
 

ttxela2

Active member
It's not so much having a campervan or similar but the way you use. The Outer Hebrides islands were quite welcoming a couple of years when we travelled from Lewis to Barra. A leaflet was available at the ferry terminal in Ullapool detailing the do's and dont's. Primarily dispose of rubbish sensibly, chemical dump where indicated and park anywhere so long as you aren't in somebody's way.
There is much to commend in the system of 'Aires' popular on the continent, particularly France. Most towns or villages have small areas where vans can park for the night, sometimes for a modest charge but often free. Usually with facilities for waste disposal, fresh water, toilet casette emptying etc.

They do not really compete with local campsites as 'camping' as such is not permitted i.e. you just sleep in your vehicle, not get out the deckchairs, awning and BBQ etc.. and stays are generally only for one night.

A few places in the UK are developing similar arrangements.
 

paul

Moderator
There is much to commend in the system of 'Aires' popular on the continent, particularly France. Most towns or villages have small areas where vans can park for the night, sometimes for a modest charge but often free. Usually with facilities for waste disposal, fresh water, toilet casette emptying etc.

They do not really compete with local campsites as 'camping' as such is not permitted i.e. you just sleep in your vehicle, not get out the deckchairs, awning and BBQ etc.. and stays are generally only for one night.

A few places in the UK are developing similar arrangements.
Sounds a good idea until it comes to the question of who pays for it? Many villages have had to close public toilets when the district or county councils withdrew support due to budget constraints.
 

menacer

Active member
You see campervans and motorhomes parked up all over the North of Scotland, there are hundreds of them.

If you want to park up for the night anywhere there's an app called Park4Night which can show you where to go.
I use that.
Great app
 
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