Valley village deluged with cars daytripping to see waterfalls and leaving mess behind


Villagers living near a Powys beauty spot say it is the busiest they’ve ever seen it, as cars block country lanes and litter is left by tourists.

Coelbren resident, Merle Griffiths, said tourists had been attracted to the beautiful Henrhyd waterfall during the nice weather as coronavirus lockdown continues to ease.

The 78-year-old explained that the volume of visitors led to cars being parked in dangerous places and that residents were getting fed up.

“All of a sudden, our waterfall has become very, very popular. The roads leading up to the waterfall are very narrow and there is a very small car park. What we are finding is that cars are parking in the lanes that lead to the waterfall,” she said.

“People are now parking alongside the row of old bungalows nearby, which have signs up for disabled parking. They are also parking their cars at corners near junctions, blocking the roads – it’s very dangerous.”

The waterfall busy with visitors

Cars parked near a junction

Litter collected by local residents

Mrs Griffiths also explained that the amount of litter left by tourists is very upsetting for residents, who love and respect their local area.

“The amount of litter we have had to collect is enormous and you wouldn’t want to know some of the things we are finding: faeces – not just from dogs – wet wipes, packaging, everything,” she said.

“The problem is there are no toilets open down there at the moment.

“I’m very proud to live by the waterfall – it’s 90 foot high and you can walk underneath it.

“I’ve lived here all my life and we’ve always had visitors, but nothing ever like this. It’s busy all day, every day. It started about five or six weeks ago as lockdown started to ease.

“It makes me quite angry that people are abusing a natural phenomenon.”

Local councillor David Thomas said the council and National Trust, who own the land, are working to try and ease the issue.

He said: “The increase in visitors is a problem across Wales at beauty spots. People are being encouraged to go outdoors by the Welsh Government because it is safer than being indoors during the pandemic.

“There are different agencies working together at the moment to try and relieve some of the problems at Henrhyd waterfall – such as maybe adding an overspill car park – but it can’t happen overnight. We are doing our best to address it with the National Trust.

“If people are coming to visit, we want them to act appropriately and if the car park is full, we would urge them to go elsewhere.”

South Wales Police also warned people visiting the waterfalls at Pontneddfechan, just east of Coelbren, to park responsibly following similar issues.

Pontneddfechan, just east of Coelbren

A spokesman for the force said: “We are regularly experiencing considerable parking issues within the waterfall area in Pontneddfechan.

“We want everyone to enjoy the area, but please park responsibly and safely as collisions and unsafe crossing of roads can occur as a result.

“We are responding on a regular basis to concerns over inconsiderate and illegal parking in the area. Glynneath Neighbourhood Team are patrolling regularly and if offences are identified then fixed penalty notices will be issued.”

The National Trust has been approached for comment.

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