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Prepare for a safe return to the great Welsh outdoors say Welsh environment body Natural Resources Wales

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Doing the little things in preparation for the return to the great Welsh outdoors can make all the difference to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors and communities alike.

That is the message from the Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Clare Pillman today as the environment body makes the final preparations to welcome more people back to its sites over the Easter period. 

Wales’ stay local requirement was lifted from Saturday 27 March, enabling people living in Wales to travel more freely across the country.

While its woodlands, mountain bike trails and reserves have remained open for local exercise during the most recent national lock-down, NRW is expecting to see a surge in visitor numbers over the coming weeks with more people set to explore areas beyond their local surroundings.

With the safety of visitors and those who live and work in the neighbouring communities in mind, NRW is urging those looking to travel to Wales’ beauty spots this Easter to know what to expect before they visit, and how they can minimise the pressures on open spaces and landscapes when they get there.

Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales said: “We know that many people will be eager to get out into the Welsh countryside over the Easter period – to revisit their favourite places once again and to take advantage of the opportunity to explore a little further in the hope of discovering new ones.

“While we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our woodlands and nature reserves, it’s important that we all continue to help keep Wales safe by doing the little things that will make a big difference in how we protect our natural environment, and respect the communities that surround them. 

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“This includes planning ahead to make sure you know what to expect at your destination, only parking in designated areas, keeping dogs under control, not lighting fires and taking all your litter home with you. If you find that the site is a bit busier than expected, please have a plan B in reserve and be prepared to move on to find a quieter place.

“We’re encouraging all our visitors to check our website before travelling for information on what’s open and where, and to read advice on how you can respect, protect and enjoy the natural environment of Wales by following the Countryside Code and our six steps to a safe return.”

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As the stay local restrictions were eased last summer, Wales saw a significant increase in visitors to its beauty spots. While the majority behaved responsibly, there were some scenes of antisocial behaviour at NRW sites, including fly parking, illegal camping and littering.

As such, NRW is asking visitors to respect the Countryside Code and to consider its own recommended six steps to a safe return, designed to encourage people to check details about their destination prior to travelling.

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Six steps to a safe return:

Before you visit:

  • Plan ahead – check what is open and closed before you set out. Pack hand sanitiser and face masks.
  • Avoid the crowds – choose a quiet place to visit. Make a ‘plan B’ in case your destination is too busy when you arrive.

While you’re there:

  • Park responsibly – respect the local community by using car parks. Do not park on verges or block emergency access routes.
  • Follow guidance – comply with site signs and Covid 19 safety measures to enjoy your visit safely.
  • Take your litter home – protect wildlife and the environment by leaving no trace of your visit.
  • Follow the Countryside Code – stick to trails, leave gates as you find them, keep dogs under control, bag and bin dog poo.

Richard Owen, team leader for estate recreation planning at NRW said: “NRW has been working hard with our partners and with the communities that surround our sites to ensure there will be a safe and warm welcome for visitors – whether they’re returning for the hundredth time or discovering them for the first time.

“While our woodlands, trails and reserves have remained open over recent months, our visitor centre buildings will remain closed until later in the year with some sites set to offer a takeaway refreshment service. However, our outdoor facilities, including car parks, mountain bike trails, toilets and playgrounds are open.

“We encourage people to continue to check our website for the latest information before they travel and follow the Welsh Government’s guidance during their visit to ensure that our sites can continue to be enjoyed by everyone.”

More information about what to expect at woodlands and nature reserves will be updated regularly on the ‘Days Out’ page on the NRW website.

NRW is also supporting the Visit Wales Addo campaign, asking the people of Wales to make a promise as they start exploring their local communities once again to care for each other, for our land and for our communities.

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The pledge can be signed on the website www.visitwales.com/promise


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Food & Drink

Winner winner, weekday dinners: Morrisons introduces midweek dinners for under a fiver in its cafés

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Amidst the cost of living crisis, supermarket giant Morrisons is introducing a ‘meal of the day’ for under a fiver to its cafés nationwide.

Every weekday from 3pm, a ‘Daily Special’ will be discounted, offering a saving of up to £3.89 on the individual product price.

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The meal on offer will rotate each day and customers can choose from British roast chicken served with chips and coleslaw, a hearty chicken tikka masala, a 9-piece breakfast brunch, a succulent British cheeseburger served with chips and coleslaw and the ultimate beer-battered fish and chips.

The offer includes a drink and vegetarian alternatives are also available.

Each meal will be priced at £4.99, which the supermarket chain says makes them cheaper than the same evening meals at Wetherspoons, Harvester and Beefeater.

Morrisons also say that kids can also eat free all day with the purchase of any adult meal, meaning a family of four can enjoy a meal out together for just £9.98.

Ali Lyons, Head of Morrisons Cafés, says: “We know how hard it is for our customers at the moment and we want to make sure they are still able to enjoy a meal out, even on a budget. We’ve handpicked these favourites so that no matter what day it is, our customers can enjoy a saving.”

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Morrisons £4.99 offer will be available in its 406 cafés nationwide after 3pm every weekday. The ‘Daily Specials’ on offer are:

MondayRoast Chicken served with Chips & Coleslaw or Cheese & Onion Quiche served with Chips & Coleslaw 
TuesdayChicken Tikka Masala or Mac ‘n’ Cheese 
WednesdayBreakfast Brunch or Full Vegetarian Breakfast 
ThursdayCheeseburger served with Chips & Coleslaw  or Vegetarian burger served with Chips & Coleslaw 
FridayUltimate Fish & Chips

(Lead image: Morrisons)

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Fitness

Tyson Fury comes to Swansea as Ware-house Gym celebrates first anniversary

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“Gypsy King” Tyson Fury is making a special appearance at Cwmdu’s Ware-house Gym as the venue marks its first anniversary.

Is he retiring or does he have plans for making another comeback?

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Chris Ware, one of the owners of Ware-house Gym says he’s looking forward to the boxing legend’s live and unscripted visit, which promises a great night of entertainment and maybe even a song or two from the people’s champ himself.

Chris said: “It’s amazing to have such an iconic sports man coming to Swansea. Not only has he inspired so many people through sport but also the way he has battled his own mental health problems.

“His story is amazing on so many levels. He appeals to so many people, and it’s a privilege to have him in the gym.

“Between world class dance brands and now one of the biggest sports stars in the world is coming to Ware-House Gym Swansea, it’s been a great first year.”

The gym opened last year during the height of the pandemic, but despite it’s difficult start the venue has gone from strength to strength.

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It even hosted a pop-up nightclub as Sankeys, one of the UK’s most recognisable club brands announced the opening of their first Welsh venue at the gym.

The Cwmdu venue is now attracting national attention, as the gym became finalists in the UK Active awards for “New Concept, Build or Design of the Year.”

Staff at Ware-House Gym with owner, Chris Ware (centre)

Chris added: “We have pushed and stretched ourselves to provide a 5 star facility that everyone is welcome in.

“When we look back at our plans, we have nearly ticked off every little detail we aimed for. It has been exhausting and stressful but the support of our members and professionalism of our staff has helped us keep the standards so high.

“We have set the bar and we want to move forward as the best gym in the UK.”

Tyson Fury is at Ware-house Gym on Saturday 16 July, with tickets available from Warehouse’s website.

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Food & Drink

Proposal to ban tea and coffee for under 16s in Wales branded ‘illiberal’

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photo of person s hand pouring liquid to cup

Proposals to consider banning the sale of tea and coffee to under-16s in Wales have been labelled ‘outrageously illiberal’ by the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh Labour Government reportedly confirmed that it is considering the move as part of plans to make young people healthier and stop rising obesity rates.

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The move comes as the Welsh Government raise concerns of the rising consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among young people is also causing concern about the effects on their education.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “It is beggars’ belief that this is even under consideration.

“We are all aware obesity is a serious problem in Wales and it is important that we take action to reduce the levels across Wales.

“However, it doesn’t take an expert consultation to realise that tea and coffee are not responsible for high obesity levels.

“It would be outrageously illiberal to ban the sale of coffee and tea to under 16-year-olds, something which they regularly drink themselves at home.”

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(Lead image: Elina Fairytale / Pexels.com)

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