Local Lockdowns Affect North Wales Crags and Hills

© Nick Livesey

Local lockdowns commence in the counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham from 6pm on Thursday October 1st. As well as affecting residents, this will make large areas of North Wales out of bounds to incoming climbers and walkers.

Moel Siabod will soon be barred, unless you live in Conwy - photo: Nick Livesey  © Nicholas Livesey
Moel Siabod will soon be barred, unless you live in Conwy - photo: Nick Livesey

The measures have been introduced in response to a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the affected areas.

From Thursday evening it will be an offence for anyone to travel to or from these counties unless it's for listed exempt activities such as for work, education or medical purposes.

"This will have a massive impact on access to both North Wales Limestone for climbing venues and for much of northern Snowdonia" said Elfyn Jones of BMC Cymru/Wales in a post on our forums.

"...[T]he Ogwen Valley, Carneddau, the eastern side of the Glyderau, Moel Siabod, etc. are all within Conwy Council, while most of Clwyd limestone is within Denbighshire, and only residents of the county that these venues fall within will be able to access these areas for recreation or holiday purposes."

Those that live in an area of Wales currently under local lockdown can only meet or exercise with others from within the local authority area, as long as social distancing is maintained. However it is not acceptable for people living within a lockdown area to leave that area without a 'reasonable excuse'.

Jim McCormack on the popular Contusion (6c+) Upper Pen Trwyn.  © Jack Geldard
Jim McCormack on the popular Contusion (6c+) Upper Pen Trwyn.
© Jack Geldard

Travel through the lockdown areas to non-lockdown areas is permitted. For example, if you live in Bristol you can still drive to Pembrokeshire through the parts of South Wales already under local restrictions, but cannot stop en route unless it's for essentials such as fuel.

"There is also considerable political pressure to stop people living in English lockdown areas travelling to Wales" Elfyn told us.

"It's somewhat ironic that at the moment a resident of Capel Curig (in lockdown Conwy) cannot walk on Snowdon (Gwynedd) or climb in the Pass, but people from high infection areas in England can travel to and stay in Gwynedd and do these activities!"

On Facebook, one Conwy resident described this situation as 'illogical'.

There has been speculation that restrictions may soon follow in Gwynedd and Anglesey, following a spike in infections linked to Bangor University - at which point all of northern Snowdonia would be out of bounds to non-local residents.

Snowdonia lockdown map as of 2nd Oct 2020  © Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia lockdown map as of 2nd Oct 2020
© Snowdonia National Park

In explanation of the measures Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

"Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in coronavirus cases in four north Wales local authority areas – in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and Conwy. These are largely linked to people socialising indoors and are the pattern of transmission similar to what we have seen in South Wales.

"We have worked closely with local authority leaders and the police in North Wales and we all agree about the need to take swift action to control and the spread of the virus.

"Large parts of Wales will now be subject to local restrictions but I want to be clear – this is not a national lockdown. These are a series of local restrictions to respond to rises in cases in individual areas.

"It's always difficult to make the decision to impose restrictions but we hope that these measures will make a positive difference – just as we have seen in Caerphilly and Newport, where local residents have pulled together and followed the rules.

"It is important we all work together and support each other. This isn't just about protecting ourselves, it's about protecting each other."

  • More info on how lockdowns and coronavirus measures affect walkers and climbers in England and Wales is available on the BMC website

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29 Sep, 2020

Thanks for the update Elfyn.

29 Sep, 2020


29 Sep, 2020

Thanks. Apparently travelling on the A55 to get to Gwynedd / Anglesey is ok (see towards the end of the article). Which makes sense but I suspect it would be impossible to police the A55 anyway.

Whether it’s wise to travel is another question - I think the answer is ‘it depends’. How long before Gwynedd and Ynys Mon have their local lockdowns is also something to ponder...

I hope this doesn’t lead to a return of some of the nasty attitudes adopted by some of the locals back in spring (not just in Wales).

29 Sep, 2020

You’re living in a dreamworld lad.

30 Sep, 2020

Sad that the sledgehammer is coming out again, was hoping we wouldn't have any more blanket travel bans even for solo outdoor activity in the national parks :(

Hope restrictions are relaxed soon and that this isn't a sign of things to come in England.

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