Visiting Snowdonia

Cader Idris from Foel Caerynwch

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I go anywhere in the National Park?

No. Most of the land in the National Park is privately owned. You can explore almost everywhere by using the vast network of rights of way. You can also explore large areas of upland and uncultivated areas on foot, using the open access rights. The Countryside Code website provides advice to visitors and landowners on how to respect, protect and enjoy the countryside.

What time does the Park open and what does it cost to get in?

Snowdonia National Park is open all the time and costs nothing to get in.

Where can I take my dog in the National Park and does it need to be on a leash/lead?

Our general advice to all dog owners is to ensure that your dog is on a lead at all times when in the vicinity of livestock.

The countryside is a great place to exercise your dog but this should be done responsibly and where your dog does not become a nuisance or danger to livestock, wildlife or other people (or other dogs). It is an offence to allow your dog to attack or chase livestock under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and a farmer may legally shoot any dog that is behaving in this way without notice or any form compensation to the owner.

There are principally two types of access provision available to the public within the National Park which have slightly differing rules on dogs. One is `access land` as designated by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW)2000 and is marked on the OS maps in a cream wash which is encompassed within a brown line. This states that you must put your dog on a lead whilst on access land between 1st March and 31st July. This is to avoid disturbance to stock – mainly sheep and cattle but other local restrictions may also apply for ground nesting birds or plant communities or certain colonies of insects (such as rare butterflies).

The second type of access to the countryside is using the Public Rights of Way network such as Public Footpaths. This legislation differs slightly in that your dog needs to be only under `close control` and not specifically on a lead. However, the same rules apply. That is - do not allow your dog to chase or attack livestock or be a nuisance to others.

Dog owners may not be aware of the particular danger that cattle potentially pose, especially when they have young calves at foot. Dogs can arouse very protective instincts in cattle and we strongly advise members of the public, when accompanied by dogs, to avoid them or give them a wide berth whenever possible. If pursued, you should immediately release the dog’s lead and concentrate on your own safety. Your dog will very likely run away only to return to you later when you have safely removed yourself from harm.

Dog mess!

Everybody knows how unpleasant this can be and it can be a source of serious infections. So never leave this where people walk, play or picnic and always clear up after your dog, get rid of it responsibly by taking it away and place it in dedicated bins. In the countryside it is an option to flick it away into long grass but make sure this is well away from any drains or watercourses and do not leave it in plastic bags on the side of footpaths or anywhere else.

What do I do if I come across horses in the National Park?

In some areas of Snowdonia you may encounter feral or other horses. Horses do not ordinarily pose a threat to humans but they may take a dislike to your dog even when they may be well behaved. So it is best to avoid them where possible.

Although you may be tempted, you should not attempt to give food or treats to horses as this can cause friction within their social group and however well meaning you may be it is possible to get badly injured inadvertently if they lash out against one another when in close proximity.

Do I have to pay for car parking in the Park?

There are a huge variety of car parks in the National Park ranging from local authority maintained car parks to those operated by public land managers such as RSPB and the Forestry Commission and to private land managers and individual estates. The majority of car parks are pay-and-display car parks.

Can I camp anywhere in the National Park or do I need permission?

Whilst wild camping can be a rewarding experience and bring people closer to their natural environment.

However, most land within Snowdonia National Park is privately owned and has specific land uses such as farming (for mostly sheep and cattle) or forestry and wild camping is not allowed unless permission is specifically granted by the respective landowner/s or farmer otherwise you are committing a trespass.

This is also the case in any unfenced isolated upland areas. The Countryside & Rights Of Way Act (CROW) access land provisions specifically state (under the list of restrictions in Schedule 2{1} s) that wild camping is not an allowable activity unless granted by permission.

You should also be aware that some areas may have other sensitive designations such as Special Sites of Scientific Interest or Special Areas of Conservation to protect natural features such as its geology and wildlife habitats such as ancient woodlands, nesting birds and a host of other protected species.

However, in the case where landowners have given their permission then we suggest that any camping should be done responsibility and discretely in the hills and mountains and that you should follow the Wild Camping Code as below:

  • Camp high and off the beaten track on open hills and fells and well away from houses and farms.
  • Pitch your camp later in the day and leave early to minimise your visual presence.
  • Stay for one night only to minimise your impact.
  • Leave no trace that you’ve camped.
  • Don’t light any fires and use a gas stove for cooking.
  • Toileting should be at least 30 m away from any water source or path, and waste buried at least 15cm deep and covered over. Carry out paper and any sanitary items with you.
  • Leave no litter; take away all rubbish and food scraps with you.
  • Don’t pollute the area with any non-eco-friendly detergents and do not use streams and rivers for washing with soaps or other washing products. Take a small bowl and dispose of this well away from any water courses.
  • Move on respectively without argument if asked by a landowner to do so.
  • Use unobtrusive coloured tents that blend in with the scenery.
  • Camp with just one or two tents; no groups.
  • Choose your pitch carefully and avoid digging ditches, trampling plants and moving rocks and stones just to accommodate your tent.
  • Be quiet.
  • If you’re in any doubt about whether you can camp, choose another location.

Original Source: Ordnance Survey website April 2014

In terms of official `camping` a list of smaller formal licensed campsites is available from the National Park, Conwy and Gwynedd Tourist Information Centres and Visit Wales websites.

www.visitsnowdonia.info

www.visitwales.com/holiday-accommodation

For further information about wild camping in general visit the very useful Backpack Club website at www.backpackersclub.co.uk

How can I find a caravan or camp site in the Park?

Snowdonia has many caravanning and camping facilities to offer from small campsites to larger sites catering for caravans as well as tents, suited for the whole family. Visit our Tourist Information Centres for further information or go to Snowdonia Mountains and Coast’s website.

Can I take my canoe / kayak / raft / windsurfer onto rivers and lakes in the Park?

Legally the water itself is not owned, whoever owns the land along the river's edge (the riparian owner) also owns the property rights to the river bed. Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, anyone on that water without permission from the riparian owner is trespassing. There are access rights to some rivers and lakes within Snowdonia. For further information, contact the Welsh Canoeing Association.

What are the rules regarding fishing in the National Park?

The Snowdonia National Park offers some of the best fishing in the UK. But before fishing please ensure that you have a valid Environment Agency rod licence which you can buy from all Post Offices or by visiting the Environment Agency website, and that you also have a valid permit from the appropriate association or owner which you can buy from fisheries, fishing tackle shops or Tourist Information Centres.

Can I spread cremated ashes in the National Park?

The National Park Authority owns very little land in the National Park and so the answer must be that you must get the permission of the landowner first. We appreciate that people can develop a great attachment for particular places and so the Authority has no objection but as the vast majority of the land is privately owned it is courteous to ask for permission.

Will the spreading of ashes affect the natural life of the area?

Like everything it’s a question of degree and the Authority would not be in favour of anything which changes the natural ecosystem in areas of conservation interest.  Approx. 29% of Snowdonia is designated for its special scientific significance and within SSSI and NNR sites, such requests would require consultation.

Can I spread ashes on the summit of Snowdon?

The Authority leases an area of land on the summit of Snowdon from the Welsh Assembly Government. However, the summit is a very popular spot and can be very windy and so there can be a distinct lack of privacy for what can be an emotional act and it can inconvenience others. Other peaks are less busy and provide more privacy and may be used with the landowners' permission, of course. The cautionary note regarding areas of conservation interest still applies.

Can I erect a memorial plaque / stone or provide a bench in memory of a loved one?

The Authority is not in favour of stones, plaques or benches on the mountain as they detract from the feeling of wildness that many people come to enjoy. Certain formally managed sites may be suitable however and while we do not have any suitable areas the National Trust or Natural Resources Wales may be able to assist. However, the Authority can accept donations specifically to help with the upkeep of such areas.

Header image - Morfa Harlech (© Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales)