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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Beautiful spot near Snowdonia overrun by campers, causing local outrage and parking problems | Wales Online

By Vaseline May26,2024

Efforts to ease parking problems at a popular beauty spot in Eryri have backfired and caused more chaos, according to local critics. Y Glyn, or ‘the lagoons’ at Llyn Padarn in Llanberis, underwent major renovation work to create 114 parking spaces and an ‘Arosfan’ camper site, but locals say it has been turned into a mass camping site instead.

The action by Cyngor Gwynedd Council was intended to bring order to the overwhelmed site, but the parking ticket machines have not been functioning and the height barriers are only in use occasionally. Two weeks ago, this led to 95 campers spending the night next to dozens of tents, despite a ban.




As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, residents are preparing for more unrest at this leisure location. Environmental concerns include increased litter and the prospect of more human feces being found, presenting a grim task for volunteer waste pickers.

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Campsite owners from the surrounding areas from Llanberis to Caernarfon are also reporting a drop in turnover due to the adjacent “free camping”. One irritated owner complained: “This is ruining local family businesses!”, noting ten fewer bookings last weekend.

Residents insist they are not anti-tourism, but are calling on Cyngor Gwynedd to restore order and manage the influx of tourists more effectively. The council has responded by saying a security company will return this summer to monitor the area over weekends and school holidays, and work will start next week on getting payment machines up and running, North Wales Live reports.

Locals claim that some RVs take up extra parking spaces with their equipment(Image: John Horrigan)
Litter discarded next to a van at Y Glyn (Image: John Horrigan)

Eric Baylis, a community leader who helps run Pentref Taclus Llanberis Tidy Village, expressed his confusion about the situation at Y Glyn. He said: “When the council launched plans to reconfigure the car parks two years ago, 26 camper pitches were proposed for the new Arosfan. Only eight have been provided. I have no idea what happened to the rest.”

He also highlighted other issues, saying: “Drinking water costs £3 but is not yet delivered. There are no payment terminals working. Some people say card payments are the problem because the banks aren’t talking to each other. I was told that license plate recognition cameras were planned, but the council has no legal right to use them.”

Mr Baylis added: “There are also currently no car park height barriers in use that were installed three years ago. Last summer, a private security company was brought in to operate the gates, and they went around warning everyone that the gates would close at 8 p.m. the staff went at midnight, they opened the gates back up ready for the morning, and campers parked nearby would make it through the night. Without proper management, things are worse now than before.

The Llanberis Arosfan campsite is praised by many campers as the “closest place to a real French campsite in Britain”. Previously, visiting Y Glyn was considered a “nightmare” due to its lax parking restrictions. One owner said: “I really want this to work so I hope it doesn’t become a victim of its own success. If they have the options and payment facilities then this should be enforced so people don’t get duped.”

The Llanberis Lagoons are a popular destination when the weather warms up(Image: SG&LAS)

However, without costs and enforcement, there are already signs of abuse. Locals report that vans are filling up the three car parks, taking up spaces and ignoring prohibition signs. Many have expressed frustration at not being able to park after 8am when the remaining parking spaces are occupied.

“It’s terrible,” said local resident John Horrigan. “Van owners are setting up barbecues and setting up chairs and tables, despite signs prohibiting them from doing so,” he said. “Once they’re in place, they’re there all weekend and parking becomes a problem for everyone else.

“On Monday a group of children were taken to Padarn by the National Water Sports Centre, but the party could not get into the car park. There are also tents nearby. I saw one as big as a marquee!

“In the past, wild campers would camp overnight, leave early and leave no trace. Now it’s different in that they have barbecues, chairs and fires, and some don’t take their rubbish with them. What’s really shocking is the sheer number of vans that use makes of the One of them was a 40-foot American camper that was too big for the lagoon site. It’s always been busy, but now it’s just crazy.”

Signs clearly state the ban on overnight stays, but these are currently being routinely ignored, residents say(Image: no credit)

Y Glyn Arosfan offers a generous space of six meters between pitches to comply with fire regulations. This actually means that there are two parking spaces between each camping pitch that, according to Mr Baylis, in theory cannot be used.

However, without enforcement, these gaps are filled – either by illegal canopies and tables or by other vehicles. In Y Glyn’s other two car parks, visiting families complain that campers and their equipment are scattered across different areas. Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox

Most locals would welcome regulated tourism. However, they say they are irritated by ‘freeloaders’ who do not pay and contribute little to the village economy. For those dealing with the takeover of their community during peak season and the cleanup afterwards, what happens in the lagoons is frustrating.

“It’s crazy,” one woman said as photos were shared online. “As locals we will have to pay to park in our own village. We have to pay for tourism.” Another local resident expressed his concerns, saying: “It’s nice to see so many people enjoying the place we can call home. A tent and a fan is better than a second home. But photos (of the mess) after they leave show how embarrassing they are.”

Despite having plenty of waste containers and public toilets, which close at 6pm, locals say there seems to be a problem with waste disposal. Arosfan rules require van owners to have toilet facilities on board, but it appears some are not adhering to this rule given the ‘human feces’ locals say they encounter.

Mr Baylis and other volunteers regularly clear litter from the lagoon bushes, but for health and safety reasons the faeces are left untouched. While it is important to note that only a minority are guilty of “disrespecting” the area, the ongoing problems at Y Glyn have prompted calls for a total ban on campervans.

One resident expressed his displeasure, saying “I don’t like to see RVs parked at the lagoons”. They added: “They are huge. They take up so much space and in the summer families seem to occupy the upper lagoons with all their tents and trinkets. I don’t believe campers should be allowed in the lagoon area, There are plenty of spots where campers can park.”

Consideration is being given to reducing parking spaces for vans if charges are imposed. However, with the payment machines still not working, Mr Horrigan fears Gwynedd could miss out on a potentially important source of income.

One local resident is urging the council to take action, insisting: “Cyngor Gwynedd should appoint a town guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during peak hours and run it like a business. It is the only way we can get any command there and protect the population.” environment and community.”

In response, a spokesperson for Cyngor Gwynedd said there are ongoing efforts to regulate the area: “We work with our partners at other organizations and with the local community to encourage visitors to take the area into account when visiting popular visiting attractions such as Llanberis. We urge people to plan their visit in advance, for example if they plan to go camping, to arrange accommodation at a recognized campsite before they leave; and to check the availability and opening times of the facilities they need during their visit.”

Further actions the council is taking include “taking proactive steps to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone using Parc Padarn and the surrounding area”. The council said: “For example, a security company has been deployed over the past two summer seasons to monitor the area at weekends and during the school holidays and following the success of the scheme, this arrangement will be in place again this year.”


“Significant work has been carried out at the Y Glyn car park to improve the appearance of the site and ensure parking is better managed. The private company engaged by the council to install the payment machines is expected to be on site next week to complete their work so that the machines can be ready for the holiday period.”

“Due to the large number of vehicles coming to Parc Padarn with personal watercraft and other leisure equipment on the roof of their vehicles, and campers parking legitimately all day, the height barrier at the car park entrance cannot be lowered.”


“We remind the public that overnight stays are not permitted in car parks and parking garages. After consultation with local communities and camper users, Cyngor Gwynedd is developing a network of Arosfan sites (similar to Aires on the continent), including one in Llanberis. , which will also be operational once the final work on the payment terminals has been completed.

“All campers using these locations must be self-contained, with facilities on board. Campers are allowed to park in any of Cyngor Gwynedd’s car parks, but overnight parking other than the specific Arosfan locations is not permitted.

‘We are aware that three tents were set up in Parc Pardarn on Saturday evening over the last Bank Holiday weekend, and council staff moved people. We are also aware that many visitors to Llyn Padarn bring tent-style shelters for changing and etc., but these are not used for overnight camping.”

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