“It’s like being at a ski resort and being told that you can’t use the slopes, or being on Newgale and being told that you can’t go in and surf that perfect wave,” these are the words of a paragliding enthusiast eager to overturn the current ban on the sport in the Preseli Hills.

The Preselis are said to be one of the best and safest ridges of hills in the UK for paragliding.

However a ban has been in place for a decade, with reports of paragliders who have used the hills enduring threats of damage to their equipment and being met by police on landing.

The National Wales: Calls are being made to reopen the Preselis to paragliders. Photo: Nick HurstCalls are being made to reopen the Preselis to paragliders. Photo: Nick Hurst

Nick Hurst, who has learnt to paraglide in the last few years is campaigning for the ban, which has been in place since at least 2012, to be overturned. He believes that even limited access would bring a significant economic and tourism boost to inland Pembrokeshire as well as enhanced marketing for the area as a whole.

“The Preseli Hills are perfect for ridge soaring,” said Nick. “There’s a lack of hazards, an open sloping hillside and quite benign soft grass for landing.

“Before the ban, this common land was used happily by paragliders for 20 years.”

The ban was implemented at the behest of the graziers who said that paragliders were disturbing sheep and causing overgrazing.

They were supported by landowners who said that they would not give access to paragliders due to the potential impact on grazing, conservation and other users, including local horse riders who were concerned about horses getting spooked and the effect of paragliders on the semi feral ponies on the hills.

However, Nick, thinks that with farming subsidies being reviewed, as well as land use and sustainable tourism, it might be time to roverturn the ban.

“I don’t want confrontation what I do want is some sort of compromise,” said Nick, who made it clear he has no commercial interest in the ban being lifted.

“It would boost the local economy. Paragliders would happily pay a fee to use one of the best locations in Wales,”

“The sport, with its iconic images, would also boost the image of the Preseli Hills for adventure tourism, while increasing occupancy in hotels, B&Bs and campsites.”

Nick said that paragliding could promote a year-round sustainable tourism inland in north Pembrokeshire while taking pressure away from the coast.

He said that there was little danger of overuse or damage to flora and fauna as the right conditions to paraglide in the hills were only available for around a third of the year.

“Why is the air space over common land being closed down to to what is a sport that is quiet and doesn’t cause many problems?

“We would be happy with just a couple of take-off points and a couple of landing points in the winter. Rather than a blanket ban, it would be great to have some sort of compromise.

The Preseli’s are where we want to play, where we want to fly.”

Pembrokeshire National Park Authority manages the right of access to the Preselis.

A spokesman for the authority said that only walkers and riders using registered bridleways had a public right of access to the hills.

“All other activity can only take place if permitted by the landowner,” he said.

“The landowner has previously refused permission for paragliding activity to take place due to the potential to disturb flocks of sheep and the management of the Preseli Commons Special Area of Conservation.

He added that a large increase in visitor numbers over the last two seasons has caused an intensification of recreational pressure on the Preseli Hills which affects both grazing livestock and wildlife.

“As such, it is difficult to see how the situation has changed sufficiently to warrant a reassessment of this issue.”