Wardens on Pen Y Fan

Has anyone else been confronted by wardons on Pen Y Fan (GW/SW-001)?

On my last activation I was approached by a wardon who seemed to think that we should be getting permission from the National Trust before setting up a radio system on National Trust land.

The exchange was amicable. I managed to smooth things over with her & she agreed to “turn a blind eye on this occasion”.

Just a heads up for anyone thinking of activating this one.

I was only running 2m FM with a T2LT style antenna on a fibreglass pole, so not particularly high impact (no big HF antennas on this activation).

I was slightly concerned later in the day when I moved on to Tor Y Foel & found myself having a S2S QSO on 20m with another activator who had also decided to activate Pen Y Fan a couple of hours after me on the same day…I’m hoping this didn’t cause any problems as I can’t imagine it would have gone well if they found two of us in one day!


Assuming you mean GW/SW-001, I had a brief conversation with a warden back in 2016, but he was more concerned that I knew the risk of lightning strikes. No wardens in evidence when I activated it mid-week a couple of weeks back. Both times I had an HF link-dipole up.

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Oops, typo! That was the summit that I activated earlier today. Edited my original post with the correct summit reference.

I must admit that I normally only activate mid-week. This weekend activation was a bit of a novelty for me!

Even mid-week the summit was rather busy. Sure, the weather was great, and it is peak holiday season.

To date after countless activations I’ve never had any problems with Wardens/Rangers on PyF.

Most have known that I was a radio amateur and many have been interested in how far I’ve managed to get. I’ve even had an irate warden rushing up to me and saying 'Oh amateur radio, carry on I’m looking for the person flying the drone."

Maybe it’s the same person on secondment from Long Mynd Pole Bank?

73 Allan


The area is “Open Access Land”. And:- A footpath runs across the summit. The latter gives you (and anyone else ) the right to use the path for any reasonable recreational use commensurate with using a Right Of Way. Whether this includes operating a radio is untested in law. It certainly doesn’t allow the NT or anyone else to dictate what you can and can’t do. Open Access land is just that - open access on foot. Whilst you cannot access this land other than on foot, it to, do not give the land owner a right to interfere with reasonable use of that land.

I often get stopped on our open access land - the North York Moors NP, whilst wearing camouflage clothes especially when I’ve got my binos and my dog with me. I get stopped by game keepers wanting to know what I’m doing. They obviously think I’m maybe a poacher. (Actually I’m sometimes looking for evidence of illegal trapping and so on - and if in the mood I’ll tell them that!!). If they get too intrusive, or sometimes officious I simply wish them good day, ignore them and carry on. They have no right to stop me and that applies to NT wardens.

Of course preserving good PR especially, when doing something like SOTA is a slightly different matter so its probably not a good idea to get on your high horse either and give us a bad name.

Good Luck!!

David P

PS Two or three years ago I remember an activator reporting a similiar incident, somewhere in the south of England, and if my memory serves me correctly that too was a NT warden. It might well be that the wardens in question were voluntary ones and were acting in a rather too officious manner - something inexperienced wardens do from time to time.


Excellent to hear - this is the key. If approached by any kind of “official” on a hill (who may well be a volunteer), keep it very friendly. It has always resulted in my activation being able to continue for me.

The other “golden rule” is NEVER ask or discuss anything “on behalf of” SOTA, only yourself, and for only that moment in time. That way, in the unlikely event of a refusal/direction to pack away, it is only for you individually on that day - no one else, and at no other time.


I have spoken to a couple of wardens on my activations. I have not had a problem and have diligently avoided any mention of SOTA. I see no advantage in them knowing and do not want to be the one to spoil it for everyone else. The ones that I have met have been friendly, curious, and supportive.

Wardens are just people, they have good and bad days. I am sure that they encounter plenty of difficult people, and provocative and infuriating situations. Voluntary Wardens are probably good people, giving up their time for a good cause.

I can’t envisage an activation that is important enough to argument over.


Whenever I have been approached by people curious to know more about the purpose of the antennas,radios etc. I have always been more than willing to explain all aspects of the various hilltop schemes we have in place. It has never occurred to me that perhaps I should be a bit more careful in divulging too much information. :slightly_smiling_face:


Absolutely fine Derek, I’m very much the same. We have to be careful and skilful though if it seems that the official might have a concern.

It was me that came a few hours after you, thanks for the S2S by the way.

Pen Y Fan was quite busy when I got there and I only had the antenna up for about 15 minutes; chased a couple S2S and after I spoke to you decided not to add a spot and stopped after 4 QSOs. The only question I got was from a 10 year old, seemed to be really fascinated by what I was doing so I told him and his dad where to get more information on Amateur Radio. The “you might even catch someone from the Space Station if you’re lucky” line always does wonders, by the way.

It’s not the first time I set up the radio on National Trust land, never got a comment from any warden.

Razvan, M0HZH


Off the top of my head I think this might have been our first QSO, so it was nice to get you in the log with a S2S. Probably one of the shortest contacts (in terms of distance) that you’re ever going to make on 40m. That was definitely a ground wave contact!!!

Sorry to put a downer on your day but that was probably sensible.

I was a little concerned that if they’ve already had a grumble at one person about setting up a radio mast on the summit without permission, we really don’t want to antagonise the situation with a second person doing the same thing later the same day…presumably with a larger antenna setup than my 2m FM setup if you were running HF!

Likewise. I’ve never had any problems before either.

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The National Trust byelaws apply. There are lots of things you can’t do.

Martyn M1MAJ



  1. No person shall:
    (a) In any building on Trust Property; or
    (b) In the open air on any Trust Property, after having been requested to desist by any,
    person on Trust Property who is disturbed by the sound of the instrument operate or
    cause or suffer to be operated any wireless set, television set, tape recorder,
    gramophone, amplifier or similar instrument, or operate or play upon any noisy or
    musical instrument.

In other words, if you are asked to desist, you must comply


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See also byelaw 13, which probably isn’t intended to forbid antennas, but taken literally, does.

  1. No unauthorised person shall pitch, erect, or permit to remain on Trust Property
    any tent, booth, windbreak, pole, clothes-line, building, shed, post, fence, railing or
    other erection or obstruction whatsoever.

Martyn M1MAJ

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So our tarps and other shelters could offend too.

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I would have thought that those restrictions were to stop folk from playing :notes: music. Wearing headphones cures that issue I would have thought.

Am I getting a strong feeling of deja-vu here ?


Completely agree.

I started the thread simply to highlight the issue as a consideration for anyone else who was planning to activate this summit.

I would gently suggest that the intricacies & technicalities of various bylaws have already been discussed in quite some significant depth in other very similar threads!


So only public bodies have the power to make bylaws, the National Trust is not a public body/authority. Despite what they say they may be legally on a sticky wicket so it seems.