Filming with a drone (UAV) in the National Park

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and surrounding area attract millions of visitors every year who enjoy a wide range of recreation and leisure activities based around its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

By following this advice you can enjoy flying your drone without breaking the law, harming protected wildlife or impacting on the enjoyment of other people.


Before you fly

  • Make sure you have what you need to fly legally by checking the latest guidance including The Drone and Model Aircraft Code (opens in new window) and further guidance on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website (opens in new window).
  • If your drone has a camera (unless it is a toy) or weighs 250g or more then you need to register with the CAA. Anyone flying a drone weighing 250g or more needs to pass a test and get a flyer ID from the CAA. You can register, get your flyer ID and find more information by visiting the CAA website (opens in new window).
  • There are a number of No Fly Zones in Pembrokeshire including Haverfordwest Airport and the Military Ranges at Castlemartin, Penally and Manorbier.
  • In order to safeguard protected wildlife and members of the public, the recreational use of drones is not permitted at:
    • Carew Castle and Tidal Mill
    • Castell Henllys Iron Age Village
  • The National Trust does not permit the use of drones on any of its properties without specific permission.
  • Before filming on land which has a conservation designation e.g. sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), consult Natural Resources Wales (opens in new window).


Fly responsibly

  • You must be able to see your drone at all times.
  • You are responsible for avoiding collisions and any subsequent damage to people, property and livestock and any liability arising from your actions.
  • Use extra care and attention when operating drones along footpaths, beaches and other areas where there are lots of people, especially during the summer months.
  • Be aware that animals may be easily startled by drones so take extra care around horses and their riders.
  • Ensure your drone is not harassing livestock. Take special care around animals grazing near the cliff edge and pregnant sheep.
  • In the interest of public safety, avoid flying in areas where there is already a drone in flight.


Keep your distance

  • Don’t fly higher than 120m (400ft) to avoid collisions with manned aircraft. Be aware of low flying aircraft such as search and rescue helicopters or those used for military training purposes.
  • You must not fly your drone within 150m (500ft) of a ‘congested area’ eg a residential area, any commercial or recreational areas. This may include beaches during peak times.
  • Your drone must not fly within 50m (150ft) of a person, vessel or structure. You should not fly over groups of people at any height.


Be considerate

  • Respect the privacy of others when filming using your drone. Ensure you are aware of privacy laws and the Data Protection Act to ensure an offence is not committed when storing or sharing footage shot from your drone.
  • Respect the rights of others to enjoy the National Park. People visit for a variety of reasons: to watch wildlife, to enjoy adventure sports and for peace and tranquillity. Consider how your drone flight impacts on other people’s experience.


Protect wildlife

  • Nesting birds, marine mammals such as seals, wading birds and waterfowl are all very sensitive to disturbance.
  • Wildlife is especially sensitive during the breeding season and also when feeding, roosting or resting.
  • Disturbance of protected wildlife is a crime and can be prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Birds are particularly sensitive during the nesting season (1 March to 31 July), in particular on cliffs where seabirds come ashore to nest.
  • Seals are vulnerable all year round. They haul out to pup on the coastline usually from August to the end of November and again to moult from December to April.
  • Wading birds and waterfowl may gather in number to feed and rest on sandflats or mudflats and are vulnerable at any time.
  • If you notice any change in an animal’s behaviour you are too close and you should immediately back away.


Wildlife disturbance

  • Wildlife may think your drone is a predator. Often the first sign of disturbance is wildlife becoming aware of your drone. Signs to look for are: seabirds craning their necks, alarm calls and seals looking up to watch your drone. These are signs that you are too close. Move your drone away and do not fly any closer.
  • Remember, time spent watching your drone prevents animals from feeding and resting and caring for their young which can impact on survival.
  • In cases where disturbance is severe, wildlife may take flight or move off in panic from cliffs or feeding areas. On crowded seabird ledges in particular this
    can lead to the loss of eggs.
  • If seals feel threatened they may clear the beach and head for the safety of the water. This can affect the survival chances of the young seals before they have developed their waterproof pelt or during moulting.
  • Even low levels of disturbance can impact on wildlife and lead to declining breeding success and reductions in populations.

Commercial use of drones

  • You must have permission from the owner of the land where your drone takes off and lands, for all commercial flights. You may also want to seek permission from the owner of the land you are flying over. You can find out more about landownership on our Location information for filming enquiries page.
  • You must have third party liability insurance if you get paid to take pictures or record video, carry out surveys or use your drone for work, such as on a farm, park or estate.
  • Before filming on land which has a conservation designation e.g. sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), consult Natural Resources Wales (opens in new window).


Reporting misuse of drones

Call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 to report concerns regarding the misuse of drones or report via the Dyfed-Powys Police website (opens in new window).