In response to scenes of weekend crowds on Snowdon and other Welsh mountains, and the announcement this week of a nationwide lockdown, National Park Authorities in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons have today closed access points and popular routes on many usually-busy hills.
Meanwhile, from Wednesday caravans and camper vans are being prevented from driving into the Lake District in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. Cumbria Police said that anyone they think is on holiday will be "advised to go home", and could issue fines.
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority Chief Executive, Julian Atkins, said:
"The movement restrictions now in force are necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus and it is essential that the public listens and acts immediately to the instructions which have been issued. While we all enjoy getting out into the countryside, locations which attract people to gather or come into contact with each other now pose a risk to our health and it is important that we take the steps necessary to protect lives.
"We have not taken this decision lightly but these closures are important if we are to play our part in slowing the spread of the virus and they must be respected. The National Park will still be here when restrictions are lifted but for now we must put these closures in place. Many elderly people live in our National Park and access to hospitals and NHS services can be more difficult for some, please help everyone stay safe."
These measures mean that there will be no parking or public access to the most popular sites in Snowdonia including Snowdon, Ogwen, Cadair Idris Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy. In the Brecon Beacons, hills under lockdown include Pen y Fan, Mynydd Du, Ysgyryd Fawr and Blorenge, among others. The Beacons Way and Offa's Dyke National Trail within the park are also closed to public access.
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of Snowdonia National Park said:
"Today we will be closing public access to the busiest mountain areas in co-operation with the police and local authorities. We are doing this in response to emergency powers granted by the Welsh Government in order to protect rural communities and health services in the North Wales area and to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"We encourage local people who live within and close to the boundaries of the National Park to continue to exercise from their doorstep. We ask those people to visit our website or email for more information. For those who do not live within walking distance our message is clear – do not visit the National Park until the Government's guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel has been lifted. There will be no parking and the mountains will be closed – respect the Government guidance – stay at home to stay safe.
"We hope that as a result of the measures we've now taken we will not see a repeat of last weekend's unprecedented scenes. We will be monitoring the effectiveness of this measure closely and will not hesitate to take further action to expand closures if the situation does not improve".
National Park Wardens will be monitoring the situation, and authorities are also asking members of the public to report transgressions and problems.
The closures ensure that park authorities are complying with the "Health Protection (Coronavirus: Closure of Leisure Businesses, Footpaths and Access Land) (Wales) Regulations 2020" introduced by Welsh Government this week.