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Report sheds light on how wildlife is impacted by visitor numbers in North West Wales - Snowdonia National Park Authority

In spring 2020, a number of popular sites across North Wales were closed to the public following the implementation of a nation-wide lockdown in response to the health crisis of the Coronavirus. Many areas were entirely closed off to the general public, whilst other areas experienced greatly reduced visitation due to the nature of lockdown regulations and its limits to travel.

To evaluate how wildlife was responding to this exceptional period in the Snowdonia National Park and across north-west Wales, a series of biodiversity surveys by the environmentalist Ben Porter were commissioned by Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust and the Snowdonia National Park Authority in June 2020.

The three years of contrasting visitor numbers in the area provide a good opportunity for comparing the data from these surveys and assessing what effects there might be on the wildlife, levels of littering and general impacts on the landscape within the National Park.

The third report highlights some key findings in the way nature reacts to an increase in visitor numbers to popular sites.

Reduced abundance and diversity of birdlife was a running theme throughout the report in many of the sites including the uplands, woodlands and coastal areas. The number of breeding birds and species recorded were lower in all of the sites for a variety of reasons such as an increase in visitor numbers in the uplands, and disturbance from recreational motor crafts and paddleboards in coastal areas.

Erosion was also a key feature of the report following two extremely busy visitor seasons in a row, leading to a concentration of walkers eroding footpaths such as Cwm Llan on the Watkin Path for Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), coastal vegetation being trampled on in Ynys Llanddwyn and a braided series of mountainside paths being created on Y Garn in Cwm Idwal.

One positive sign was a reduction in litter compared to the spike in 2021. However, the slightly lower totals in 2022 compared to 2021 is likely due to the relentless work of groups such as Caru Eryri*, the National Park Authority’s Warden and Volunteer Warden teams, and other groups such as Trash Free Trails.


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Posted On: 26/10/2022

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