Leave no trace

‘Tread lightly’

The National Park Authority asks that people, when on Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), or indeed elsewhere in Snowdonia (Eryri), leave no trace of their visit, both whilst they are there, and afterwards. They also use the phrase ‘tread lightly‘ for the same figurative aim of your visit having minimal impact on the mountain.

Leaving no trace is not just about things like litter (see below), but also the impact you have as a person or group. Preparing properly for your visit will help with this, as will being respectful and considerate of both people and things around you.

The 7 Principles

The 7 principles, as identified by the Park Authority (and listed in the poster below) are:

    • Plan ahead and prepare
    • Only camp in designated campsites
    • Take all your belongings home
    • Respect our local communities
    • Respect wildlife
    • Be considerate of other visitors
    • Enjoy your stay

Nearly 600,000 walkers use Snowdon annually, and 4 million people visit Snowdonia (‘Eryri’) annually. “Leave no trace” is key to the National Park’s 7 principles

The National Park’s countryside code

The above principles are very much linked to the Countryside Code:

  • Put your dog on a lead when in the vicinity of livestock.
  • Help reduce mountain erosion by keeping to the path (it’s also safer).
  • Take your litter home, including food waste.
  • Leave gates as you find them, or follow any directions. (Most gates on Snowdon are meant to be closed.)
  • Take care not to harm plants and wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other walkers.
  • Follow any directions or signage.

You can also see what else Natural Resources Wales says about the Countryside Code here.

The BMC’s Green Guides
  • You can download the BMC’s Green Guide to the Uplands (.pdf) here.
  • You can download the BMC’s Green Guide for Groups of Walkers (.pdf) here.
What is litter?

A team of volunteer litter pickers at the summit (the first organised sweep after the winter)

“If you bring it in, take it out.”

It is hoped that everyone will take back down what they have brought up, but some find that difficult and prefer to leave litter on the mountain, especially at the summit. (We accept too that a small proportion of litter is probably accidental.)

There are bins in all the car parks at the bottom of the mountain, but no bins on the mountain itself, for obvious reasons.

Remember that things like banana skins and orange peel are also litter – what is called ‘organic litter’. They take a good couple of years to decompose, and apart from looking unsightly, they poison the fragile mountain soil (by altering the pH) because they are not native.

Volunteer wardens patrol the paths at weekends, chatting with the public and also picking up litter, but you can help by picking up any litter you see. As a result of regular litter picking (some 500 bags of litter are collected on Snowdon annually) you will hopefully find the mountain a much cleaner place.

When Hafod Eryri, the summit building, is closed, it is not possible to leave rubbish in the internal bins there.

They may be great food on the mountain, but this is litter.

A plastic-free Snowdon?

The National Park Authority has recently appointed a ‘plastic-free Yr Wyddfa’ officer. The plan is to create a clear and ambitious strategy to reduce the amount of waste on Yr Wyddfa’s paths and help businesses to transition from single-use plastics. You can read more about the background to this plan here, and about the scheme itself (and how you can help) here.

Water refill points

One way of reducing single-use plastics is to carry a refillable water bottle. There are taps for this purpose in the car parks at Pen y Pass (Pyg Track & Miners’ Track), Pont Bethania (Watkin Path) and Rhyd Ddu, plus there are additional businesses in Llanberis and Beddgelert where bottles can be filled.

Be ‘Adventure Smart’

Your impact on the mountain will additionally be reduced if you are fully prepared. To that end, ask yourself these 3 questions before you set off:

  • Do I have the right GEAR?
  • Do I know what the WEATHER will be like?
  • Am I confident I have the KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS for the day?

You can read more about these 3 questions on the Adventure Smart website.

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