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Drone pilots are requested to ensure any flights over Cadw scheduled monuments are flown in accordance with the UK Drone CODE

Drone pilots flying either drones with a camera under 250g or any drone over 250g must be licensed with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the drones marked with the operators flying ID. Drones under 250g do not need to be licensed.

Any imagery of Cadw scheduled monuments captured by recreational drones should be for personal use and not published on any third-party platforms accessible by the public. If there is an intention to share such imagery on such platforms or to use it for any income generating or publicity purpose the paragraph on commercial use should be followed.

Although drone pilots adhering to the UK Drone Code may fly over Cadw monuments except where there are CAA no drone zones, drones cannot take off or land on private land without the landowner’s permission. It should be noted that Cadw does not currently allow recreational drones to take off or land on Cadw property. There are currently several CAA no drone fly zones in the airspace over the following Cadw monuments due to their proximity to airports, railways and other hazards considered as high risk by the CAA.

  • Castell Conwy
  • Kidwelly Castle 
  • Ty Newydd Chambered Tomp
  • Din Dryfol
  • Parc le Breos Chambered Tomb

Flights that are considered a nuisance or having caused a heritage crime or safety incident will be reported to the police, CAA or Welsh Government Central Safety Team as appropriate.

Examples include:

  • Low, dangerous overpassing.
  • Suspect Close Target Recces – (Repeated overpassing at different heights could be an indication).
  • Striking the historic fabric of the scheduled monument (This is a Heritage Crime).
  • Striking an individual, livestock or a working bird or animal on the site. This would be considered a safety incident and passed to the police or other relevant authorities to consider further action.
Llys a Chastell Tretwr / Tretower Court and Castle aerial view

Drone pilots consider visitors on the sites and be considerate of the fact that many may be on the site to simply enjoy some peace and tranquillity, especially on some of the more remote unstaffed scheduled monuments.

Suspected Heritage Crime

If a drone crashes into the historic fabric of the scheduled monument may be considered an heritage crime if it is suspected that the monument or its setting is damaged. Cadw staff may therefore retain the drone and hand it over to the police if deemed necessary or take the flyer and drone ID from the drone and make a formal Heritage Crime to the police and report the incident to the CAA as the Drone Licensing Authority.

Commercial Use

Drones being used for commercial and filming purposes must complete an application. This will ensure that the types of footage required can be maintained with pilot and visitor safety being paramount. Commercial flights may require partial or full site closure.

Costs will be charged for any change to the site’s opening and closing hours, this will be included within the fees for commercial filming and use of Cadw imagery etc. All commercial pilots will need to submit their public liability insurance (min. £5 million), method statement and supporting risk assessments.

These will be processed and spot checked before flights can be authorised, it is therefore necessary to submit these early. For partial closures pilots must be easily identifiable and ensure that they work within a set safe area of work.

Drone Surveys

As per commercial use, the authorisation of drone surveys will need to follow the same process of approval. Sites will usually need to be closed. All risk assessments and method statements will be thoroughly checked before authorisation.

All pilots must be easily recognisable, separating them from members of the public and always work within a safe area of work.