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People are being urged to respect the countryside after “widespread” reports of visitors leaving litter and using beauty spots as toilets.

At the height of lockdown national parks, outdoor visitor attractions, and beauty spots were closed, in a bid to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

But in Snowdonia some flocking back to climb Wales’ highest peak have been leaving dog mess and litter behind.

The national park authority said the behaviour was “unacceptable”.

It said a “small minority of people” hiking up Snowdon since restrictions were eased had left litter, dog mess and human excrement behind.

“This is a emerging widespread issue not just in the mountains but also at lakeside locations, and across the national parks and visitor destinations in Wales,” it said in a statement, adding similar problems were being seen in England.

Media captionSaturday was the “busiest ever visitor day in living memory” in Snowdonia, officials say

Unlike most mountains, Snowdon has a visitor centre at the summit, with a cafe and toilets.

But during lockdown many public toilets have been closed, and many have struggled without them, including people with medical conditions, older people and those with young children.

The toilets on the mountain are currently shut, and there have been issues previously with people using the toilet on the mountainside.

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Alwena Jones found a man using the toilet on her cafe halfway up Snowdon

Alwena Jones, who runs the Halfway House cafe on the Llanberis path to the summit, said with more people taking to the mountain following lockdown the problem was getting worse.

She said she had found a man urinating against the door of her business on Sunday.

“I just asked him: ‘Excuse me, why do you have to have a wall to pee on? You’ve got 1,100 acres here for you to have a wee – why do you have to do it on my back door’.”

With more than half a million people walking up Snowdon each year, and over 100,000 taking the train to the summit, Ms Jones feels it may be getting to the point where more toilets is the only answer.

“I think there is a need of a toilet – especially for the ladies. It’s more difficult for them,” she said.

Media captionSnowdon Mountain Railway reopens after lockdown

Elfyn Jones, access and conservation Officer for Wales for the British Mountaineer Council, said putting toilets on the mountain was not practical.

He said while there would be times that people had to answer the call of nature, leaving waste on paths was “outrageous behaviour”.

“People need to be prepared before they come here. They need to be aware that they have to go in the outdoors and they have to do that discreetly, sensibly and hygienically,” he said.

“The idea that there should be toilets and facilities half-way up a three and a half thousand foot mountain – quite frankly, it’s absurd.”

Image copyrightDaniel Reddington.Image caption

Litter was left following a brawl in Ogmore-by-Sea

The problem has not just affected mountains since the travel ban was lifted and restrictions were eased.

Residents and councils have been left clearing up beer cans and left over picnics and barbecues on beaches in recent weeks.

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The clear up after people went drinking in Cardiff Bay

In Cardiff Bay, where police have issued a dispersal order after people flocked to enjoy the sunshine and drink last weekend, residents reported seeing urine on the side of the Pierhead Building.

While in Ogmore-by-Sea, residents were left dealing with the clear up after a “mass brawl” on the beach.

Snowdonia National Park Authority said it had worked hard to welcome back visitors and reopened toilet facilities at sites.

“We are working with colleagues across Wales and the UK including public health and public protection to develop further specific messaging relating to these issues in order to keep our communities safe and to protect our landscapes,” it said.