Gorge Walking in North West Wales

Funded by Natural Resources Wales

Gorge walking/canyoning/gorge scrambling is the activity of travelling through deep gorges and rivers using climbing, jumping and abseiling to manoeuvre through the fast-flowing water and negotiate rapids, pools and waterfalls.

A number of river gorges in North Wales are popular venues for gorge walking. Many of these sites are environmentally sensitive with environmental designations. With the rapid growth in participation in the sport over the past fifteen years, the number of gorges used as venues for guided gorge walking has increased and the levels of activity in some gorges, in particular, have increased significantly. There has been an additional perceived increase in recreation activity in North West Wales gorges since Covid-19 and the easing of restrictions in the UK.

This study sought to increase the understanding of the recreational use of these gorges by commercial operators and to look for ways of managing the pressure that they are experiencing, whilst ensuring people continue to be able to engage with and enjoy these special places in a sustainable way.  The methodology included a survey of commercial operators, site visits and a social media and online visibility audit.