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Visitor Monitoring Report 2018 - Take a look at what we do

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13 June 2019

The Snowdonia National Park Authority each year produces a summary report of all our visitor (walkers) monitoring data. This data is collected, collated and presented by our Access Section.

It is important to put this process into some context. Going back to 1999 the system began with a small number of counters located at the more popular walking routes. Oddly the original counters were adapted from bat roost counting devices.

Prior to this time there was a distinct lack of meaningful empirical data across the whole area with many figures based on `guess estimates` or short occasional visits by students and/or volunteers to collect limited seasonal data. Unsurprisingly we have found that some of this `data` was far from accurate.

Typically we located out first set on the main paths on Snowdon (understandably) with others in the Ogwen Valley, Cader Idris and other popular routes such as Precipice Walk and the Mawddach trail in the Dolgellau area – which counts both cyclists and walkers. Since that time we’ve expanded the system and increased the number of counters as our skills and the knowledge of how to interpret this data increased.  It is also one of the most comprehensive visitor counter systems within any of the UK’s National Parks or designated areas.

They have thrown up some interesting statistics. Did you know that 300 people may visit Snowdon summit at 2 am in peak season! – Who? Well these are people taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge (to walk Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours) and is a remarkably popular activity throughout the season  - albeit a tough challenge.  The most popular months are July/August – no surprises there and the Llanberis path is the most popular route on Snowdon followed by the Pyg and Miners tracks.  

Although this activity may seem to be simply an exercise in data collection for us here at the National Park it’s far more than that and it’s invaluable as a management tool. The counters can show us visitor numbers by the hour, the day, the week or month on any monitored path and enables us to estimate when and where our `peak season` really is and then allow us to target our limited resources accordingly – typically for general staffing, season staffing, maintenance works, planning for infrastructural improvements and upgrading of the more popular routes identified.  

Another useful exercise is to enable us to provide the Authority with real data and to demonstrate to other stakeholders what is require in terms of resources to manage high concentrations of  `walking visitors` in designated areas. It is also good evidence to use for pursuing external grant funding when available.

The 2018 figures proved very interesting indeed – we guessed that the overall figures would be up given the great weather we experienced over the very warm summer. But the data indicated that the overall rise was seven percent but this was not confined to Snowdon, as one could expect, but was the general trend across the whole of the National Park.

Peter Rutherford SNPA's Access Officer said:

“The latest visitor monitoring figures from Snowdonia National Park indicate a 7.5% increase in walker numbers in 2018 right across the National Park which is a significant amount.

Although figures are increasing year on year this particularly large increase is attributed to the exceptionally fine weather and the best summer on record since 1976. This resulted in many more people venturing out into the countryside which is a prime purpose of National Park and this also provided a substantial boost to the local and regional economy”

Notes to Editors

  1. These figures are available by contacting the Snowdonia National Park Authority's Headquarters in Penrhyndeudraeth on 01766 770274 or parc@eryri.llyw.cymru
  2. Alternatively you can download a PDF copy
  3. For more information contact Ioan Gwilym, SNPA’s Corporate Services Communications Officer 01766 772 253 / 07900 267506 or e-mail ioan.gwilym@eryri.llyw.cymru.