Many people enjoy exploring Wales’ rivers and lakes. Now, a new Waterside Code and DVD have been produced to help people enjoy inland waters in a responsible and sustainable way. Visits to inland water are extremely popular and appeal to a range of social groups. According to the Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey, nearly a third of all visits to the outdoors, made by adults living in Wales, are to an area of inland water. The simple code gives guidance on how everyone can enjoy activities on rivers and lakes in a way that also cares for the natural habitats and is sensitive to other users around them; the Waterside Code complements the Countryside Code.
Top tips for using Wales’ inland waters include:
• Respecting other people by finding out where you can and cannot go before visiting.
• Checking the weather forecast before leaving home as water conditions can change rapidly in rivers and lakes.
• Always making sure that you know how to get in and out of water safely as there can be hidden dangers.
• Being careful not to disturb fish eggs in shallow parts of the river between autumn and spring.
• Using established places to get in and out of the water to protect riverbanks and lakesides.
• Checking, cleaning and drying clothing and equipment before travelling to new places to stop the spread of invasive species.
Chris Wright of Snowdonia-Active (www.snowdonia-active.com), a partner in the production of the DVD said, “We know that if outdoor users can be made aware of the special nature of the places they use, they will take positive steps to minimise the impact of their activities. So, the Waterside Code and the Enjoying the Rivers and Lakes of Wales DVD should bring real benefits.” Over the coming months, more specific and detailed codes of conduct will be developed for key activities – angling, canoeing and wild swimming will be the first of these.