Snowdonia locals fear Easter holidays after warm weather brought 'abuse and parking chaos'

The large car park operated by the national park is quickly overwhelmed on sunny weekends - causing visitors to park along roads and in local villages.

Residents of Snowdonia are nervous about the incoming Easter holidays, after recent warm weather left some villages blighted by abuse, irresponsible parking and even human waste.

The national park already had high visitor numbers before Covid, with car parks often nearing full capacity, but authorities say its popularity exploded in 2021 mainly due to social media trends.

The pandemic has seen the rise of the 'staycation', with many opting to holiday in the UK's beauty spots over travelling abroad.

But it has caused some tension between Snowdonia locals and visitors.

Residents complain of cars being parked regularly on both sides of the A498 road between Craflwyn and Llyn Gwynant.

Nant Gwynant, a village situated near one of Snowdon's main walking routes, is one of the worst affected - with residents complaining of being unable to park outside their homes.

One resident said: "It's no longer an occasional occurrence. It's every weekend from Thursday evening until late on Sunday. With Easter coming up and two more bank holidays in May, things are going to get worse."

Asking not to be identified, the resident added: "It's not just the vehicles but it's the abuse as well.

"I popped down to Beddgelert and was back within a few minutes. Someone had moved the cones I had put in front of the house and the woman who had parked said it was my fault for living in such a popular area."

On another occasion, the resident saw a man urinating in full view of passing traffic.

They said: "He had no shame as to who saw him and there's a public toilet just 100 yards down the road. The litter people leave behind is also a problem. Those who park overnight and sleep in their vehicles think nothing of leaving everything - and I mean everything - behind."

Parking has caused friction in Snowdonia communities throughout the pandemic.

Locals have raised concerns with the Snowdonia National Park Authority and Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville-Roberts.

The authority said one of the most popular spots in recent times has been the waterfalls as Afon Cwm Llan.

A spokesman said it has "no way to restrict visitor numbers", but it is working with the National Trust, Natural Resources Wales and Gwynedd Council to "alleviate" some of the problems.

He added: "We have held multiple consultations with residents and business owners from Nant Gwynant and have been working on a dedicated place plan to specifically highlight the issues in the area and how we can work together to resolve them."

He said the authority's long-term plan is to offer sustainable transport for visitors to enjoy the region.

"We have worked with Transport for Wales and Gwynedd Council to ensure that there is an increase in bus services for the peak season," he said.

"In the short term Cyngor Gwynedd will be placing cones along grass verges as a deterrent to vehicle owners and to ensure pedestrian and road safety, until long term measures are put in place."

Previous attempts to alleviate problem parking have included placing cones along roads.

Liz Saville-Roberts MP said she is "concerned" by the issues raised, and urged visitors to be considerate of local communities.

"The good weather brings people to the area, and this is of course to be welcomed, especially by local businesses," she said.

"But I would appeal to those thinking of visiting the area to plan ahead, respect our communities and leave nothing but their footprints behind or otherwise risk damaging an industry reliant on the forging of mutual respect between local communities and visitors."

Gwynedd Council confirmed that temporary measures are being put in place, and it has requested that Transport for Wales consider possible options to improve the situation.

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