SNPA Strapline

Public Access

Waen Oer Summit

alt=Rhyd Ddu Path, Snowdon

Public Access

The National Park Authority has an important role to play in making sure that the public can enjoy and fully appreciate Snowdonia’s special qualities.

Access on Public Rights of Way

Gwynedd and Conwy Councils, as Highways Authorities, are legally responsible for the public rights of way in the Snowdonia National Park. The Councils maintain the Definitive Map, process Orders and Modifications to the Map, prepare Rights of Way Improvement Plans, and deal with obstructions on rights of way.

In co-operation with the Highways Authorities, however, the National Park Authority, invests funding every year in improving useful paths which link villages, attractions and beauty spots. Paths are made easier to use and are clearly waymarked, under the Authority’s Leisure Network initiative.

Open Countryside

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (The CROW Act) became law on 30th November 2000.

Part One of the Act gives the public the right of access, on foot, for quiet recreation, to areas of “open country” and of registered Common Land in England and Wales. This is the “right to roam” which access groups have campaigned for since the beginning of the 19th century.

Maps of the country which were covered by this legislation were prepared by the Countryside Council for Wales. They include:

  • Land over 600 metres above sea level
  • Registered Common Land
  • Land which is wholly or predominantly mountain, moor, heath or down (classified by vegetation).

Copies of the maps can be viewed at the National Park Offices.

The land in question is shown in a yellow wash on new maps produced by the Ordnance Survey. Snowdonia is covered by O.S. Explorer Maps, Nos. 17, 18 and 23 on scale 1:25,000.

Open Countryside LogoStiles and gates leading to Open Country are signed with the brown and white logo

Leaving Open Country Logo Signifies that you are leaving Open Country. Access is on rights of way only.

General Guidance for the use of Drones within Snowdonia National Park

Using Drones for Non-commercial Purposes

The more popular smaller drones used for leisure or non-commercial filming (under 20kg generally) do not need to be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). However, there are principle rules outlined by the CAA to which all users must adhere (see below).

In terms of outdoor use, many organised or charitable events are using drones on a more regular basis and it is important that operators should be aware of their legal responsibilities.

Care and attention is required when operating drones in the mountains due to the high number of walkers. In terms of Snowdon, all the access routes (which are all Public Rights of Way) to and from the summit are geographically very narrow linear corridors with high numbers of walkers. The summit area in particular can become congested especially during the summer months. More than one drone flying around within close proximity of another may give rise to serious concern in terms of public safety.

Please bear in mind that there may also be other aircraft in the area at low level such as search and rescue helicopters or those used for military training purposes. Operators and organisers should therefore think carefully when operating drones and their potential for causing serious injury and your subsequent potential liabilities.

Using Drones for Commercial Purposes

Commercial users, whether using under 20kg or over 20kg drones, should have a formal UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) qualification accredited by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and operators must have the relevant permission from the landowner.

You will also need Public Liability Insurance and Aviation Insurance Liability cover. Where necessary, evidence of these documents should be provided. Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) kindly asks all organisers to discuss their activities with relevant Authority staff beforehand to avoid any difficulties.

Operating drones on NPA property such as the Snowdon summit or other SNPA owned areas such as car parks will require permission and licensing required. This can be arranged through the SNPA Property Section at the National Park Office in Penrhyndeudraeth.

Principle Rules for using Drones in Snowdonia:

  • The aircraft should not endanger anyone or anything.
  • The operator must keep the aircraft within line of sight (500m horizontally and 120m vertically.
  • The aircraft must not be over or within 150m of a `congested area` I.e. a residential area, any commercial or recreational areas.
  • The aircraft must not fly over or be within a distance of 150m from an organised open-air assembly (i.e. event).
  • The aircraft should not be within 50m of any vessel or structure.
  • The aircraft should not be within 30m of any person except during take-off and landing.
  • Owners and operators should have, where necessary, the relevant licensing requirements.
  • Operators should pay heed to any requirements under the Data Protection Act for the collection, use, dissemination and storage of any images/film.

Operators should also note that when drones are being operated in the countryside, they should not hinder or harass livestock, wild animals (including birds) other domestic animals or pets. Such activities may fall under other legislation and may result in prosecution.

For further information, please contact:
Snowdonia National Park Authority:
For general advice: Access Officer: - 01766 772258 – 07900 267538
For licensing: Property Officer: 01766 772266 – 07900 267530
Or visit: CAA -

Please Note: The National Trust do not permit the use of drones over any of their property such as the Ogwen Valley, Carneddau & Glyderau (including Tryfan).


The Warden and Access Service Manager
Snowdonia National Park Authority
National Park Offices
LL48 6LF

Telephone: 01766 770274

Fax: 01766 771211