The Coast Path is managed by the National Park Authority to ensure that it is reasonably safe to walk. The risk assessment of the Coast Path is therefore conducted from the perspective of walking and does not take the activity of running into consideration.
In many places the surface of the Coast Path is in its natural state and can therefore be rough and uneven. It can also vary greatly depending on the prevailing weather and season and can be slippery when muddy. Each year our records show that Coast Path walkers sustain broken bones or sprained joints. The Coast Path runs in close proximity to unguarded cliff edges and steep coastal slopes. Much of the terrain is relatively challenging and steep and has been described as a mountain walk on the edge of the coast. Running the Coast Path therefore substantially increases the risk of injury. Walkers have adequate warning and time to recognise potential hazards such as sharp bends and sheer cliffs. Runners may approach such hazards too quickly to take evasive action, particularly in poor visibility. Given the extra momentum of a runner, a stumble, slip or error of judgement could result in serious injury or death.
Each year there are approximately 250,000 people walking the Coast Path, mostly during the summer season. If you do decide to hold an event on the Coast Path, your competitors must be briefed so that they are aware of other users and be prepared to give way to them, especially on narrow cliff edge sections of Coast Path. Any such event should avoid bank holidays, peak season (July to mid-September) and preferably also weekends.
Organisers of running events therefore need to carry out their own risk assessments of the hazards of the coast with particular reference to their activity. Competitors need to be acquainted with such risks.
In the event of there being an accident to a member of the public associated with a race or time trial, it is probable that the runner (and organiser) would bear a high proportion of the liability. As organisers could be held legally liable for the costs or damages for any injuries which may occur during the event, it is recommended that this risk is insured via a public liability insurance policy.
The National Park Authority has excellent relationships with the many owners of the land over which the Coast Path runs and recommend that landowners be consulted regarding any large event which crosses their land.
We trust you appreciate therefore why the National Park Authority does not generally encourage running events on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, as this can be detrimental to the safety and enjoyment of the many thousands of visitors and residents who walk the Coast Path each year
Key things to remember:
Consider if there are other events taking place on the same day and what the impact of that might be for participants, spectators, landowners, other users, accommodation providers, available parking, traffic and any other related services.
As well as considering other events, remember that Pembrokeshire is also a popular destination for those seeking quiet recreation and the character of the area. Assess the impact your event might have on the public and whether you need to consider additional measures such as stewarding to avoid potential conflicts with other residents or visitors to Pembrokeshire.
Time of Year
Consider holding your event outside the main holiday periods, which can provide an economic boost for the area at quieter times and also reduce pressure on businesses during the peak season.
Quieter times can also open up more choice for event participants and spectators regarding accommodation and places to visit, to eat and drink and reduce traffic related congestion. Local businesses will be very eager to have additional event-based business in times other than the main holiday periods.
Seasonal land management
There are a variety of land management activities that take place on a seasonal basis that should be considered, such as calving, lambing, harvesting crops, silage or haymaking. It is always best to discuss timing of events with the land owner. There can also be environmental sensitivities at particular times of the year, such as bird breeding seasons and grey seal pupping.
The Pembrokeshire Marine Code promotes codes of conducts relating to marine wildlife and includes maps showing areas sensitive to marine wildlife.
The Outdoor Charter Group also promotes the sustainable use of Pembrokeshire’s landscapes for recreational and leisure activities.
Weather can also present challenges when choosing the best time and place to hold an active outdoor event. Weather changes can be quick and drastic. An area/location that could be perfect in dry weather could present substantial challenges/risks to both participants and the environment when dealing with wet weather conditions. Addressing wet weather alternatives/controls for both areas/routes and event timings should be considered in the research and consultation stage.
To identify areas at risk of flooding see the Natural Resources Wales website.
Privately Owned Land
Early engagement and communication with landowners is the key to any successful event.
You should always liaise with the owner of the land where your event is planned. It may not always be necessary for you to obtain every landowners permission (for example, if you are holding a walking activity along a public footpath).
Below are some of the situations where you must gain permission from the landowner.
If your event:
Permission may be granted, with or without conditions, or refused at the discretion of the landowner.
To find out who owns the land you would like to use for an event, use the National Land Registry
Public Rights of Way
There is a large network of public rights of way in Pembrokeshire including the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Public rights of way cross land in private ownership and most public rights of way are classified as public footpaths. Large events entailing the mode of passage on foot (walking and running) on public rights of way can take place, however, the respective landowners and local authority should be consulted - the principal concerns would be the disturbance to farming operations, interaction with other rights of way users and damage to the surface. For further information on staging events on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Local authorities have powers to recover costs where public rights of way are damaged by 'extraordinary traffic'. Event organisers could be asked to contribute to the costs of repair to any damaged footpath surfaces, if the cause can be attributed to their participants. Consultation with local authorities with regard to timing of events and contingency measures for wet weather should avoid such cases.
Currently trials of speed by cyclists are not lawfully allowed on public rights of way. Any event that would entail cycling, horse riding or the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on public footpaths would require the express permission of the land owner and consultation with the local authority.
Open Access Land
Open access land is common land and open country (moorland and heath). There is a right of access on foot to walk across designated areas of access land.
The land is mapped by the Ordnance Survey and is mainly to be found in the north of the National Park. Access land will be in some form of private ownership and is an important natural habitat.
Consultation with landowners and the National Park Authority is required for large events to ensure that an event does not impact on farming activities, such as seasonal livestock grazing or bird nesting.
Land with special designations
Some places within Pembrokeshire are specially protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), a National Nature Reserve or Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
Check if where you plan to hold your event has a special designation and if you will need any special permissions.
You can find out where these are:
You will need to seek the advice of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on how to avoid damaging the special features of such sites
On SSSIs, landowners must obtain consent from NRW to carry out or permit certain operations – known as ‘operations requiring consent’ – that might damage the features of the site. If the site is also a SPA or SAC site a further assessment may be required.
It is important that landowners are consulted in good time to allow them, if necessary, to discuss the issues involved with Natural Resources Wales.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
The Park Authority can also provide information and advice on how to avoid causing damage to other sensitive habitats.
The National Park has many locations where wildlife and the landscape are sensitive.
To help ensure that sporting and recreational activities happen in appropriate locations the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has been divided into eight 'Recreational Character Areas' to encourage recreation at the most appropriate locations and times Map of Recreation Character Areas
Moorings, Pontoons, Jetties and Slipways
A diagram of the waterway and the pontoon placing’s can be found at Milford Haven Port Authority's leisure guide
Please note: There are other pontoons but they may be privately owned and managed and should not be used without the prior permission of the owners.
Council Owned Land
Early engagement and communication with us is the key to any successful event, and just because the proposed site is owned by the us does not mean that it will automatically be made available. If you are proposing to use Council owned land you must liaise with us at an early stage. The issues highlighted in the private landowners section equally applies to Council land.
If you are looking to hold an event on Council owned land (other than car parks), please provide the information listed below and return along with the relevant fee (see fees and charges section) for negotiating and documenting the event.
In addition to the fee, there may be a charge to use the land for the event and a £250 bond will be held by us for the duration of the event and will be returned after the event as long it is left in a satisfactory condition.
Please contact our Property Department to discuss landowners consent on Council owned land at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01437 764551
Events on the Public Highway
If your event is taking place on a public highway i.e. any pavements, walkways, roads or pedestrian areas in Pembrokeshire you will need to obtain permission from the Highways Department.
If your event is in a private location, but is likely to affect the public highway, you will still need to discuss this with Highways.
For further information or queries on highways matters please contact our Streetcare Team on 01437 764551 or email email@example.com.
For Local Authority owned car parks you would need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing a road for an event
You need to get permission to stop or limit vehicles or pedestrians on a road, footway or public right of way or for any other temporary traffic restriction such as a waiting restriction.
Some streets/roads are easier to close than others. Before making your application think about other residents, access for emergency services and the impact closing your road may have on other roads.
To apply for a road closure for an event, an application needs to be sent to the Head of Highways and Construction with full details of:
You are advised to provide them with details of your event as soon as possible (applications could take up to 12 weeks to process for large events) so that Police and other interested parties can be consulted on your proposal in plenty of time.
The event organiser will also need to tell road users and residents in advance with:
For further information or queries on highways matters please contact the Streetcare Section within the Council at email@example.com or 01437 764551.
It is important to determine from the beginning what type of event you are intending to put on, so that from an early stage you can establish what permissions you may need and people who you need to contact in advance of the event taking place.
This means having a detailed grasp of a range of factors including:
Pre-planning and consultation is very important. By putting time in at this stage your event is more likely to be a success. At this stage you will identify what rules and regulations you need to follow and what licences or permission you need in order for your event to go ahead.