Flying in Wales?


Anybody had issues flying over CADW sites in Wales? I was looking at visiting Dolbadarn Castle in Llanberis, so checked with CADW.

I quote from their website:

"Drones are not permitted to fly over our sites during the opening hours of the monuments.

A copy of a full CAA permit and pilot’s licence must be provided to us in advance of your filming (we will not permit amateurs or those undertaking training hours to operate unmanned aerial vehicles over our sites).
All flights over Cadw property must be performed in accordance with the CAA regulations.

Aerial filming of our sites is not permitted under any circumstances until an application is approved beforehand by Cadw."

Not exactly drone friendly are they? As I understand it though, the CAA have already stated that the National Trust do not own the airspace over their land, so have no right in law to stop people flying in it. Presumably this would also apply to CADW land?

Anybody had experience with CADW?


Not been to any for a while but when I did it was real early in the morning before most people even realise there is such a time.


As a non-commercial pilot my understanding pertaining to flying near sites such as these,

  1. Take off from nearby public land and…
  2. Maintain the 30m safe takeoff and landing zone and…
  3. Fly with at least 50m distance in any direction from the nearest person - the higher the better (<400ft) and…
  4. Do not fly over a congested area and…
  5. Maintain VLOS and…
  6. Ensure you have up-to date PL insurance
  7. No normal entity owns the air-space above their property (Edit -Above 500ft!)
    7.1 Stay outside their property - see note 7!
  8. Decide if it’s worth the inevitable grief

Happy to be corrected / I stand corrected


I am uncertain about 7.
I have found numerous references to ownership up to 500ft

Strata in the air

The space above your head is legally divided into the ‘Upper stratum’ and the ‘Lower stratum’. We don’t have ownership of the upper stratum, so you can’t sue Ryanair for bussing hundreds of stag parties across your land at 30,000 feet, all you can do is go into the back garden and shake an annoyed fist at them.

However, we do have the lower stratum under control. The Civil Aviation Act 1982 tells us that the lower stratum extends to between 500 and 1,000 feet. Anything passing above our property under that level is fair game for suing as a trespasser.

And it does happen.


Well that should put all drones on the ground then really?


You also own, and have rights in the airspace above your property; however, these rights are limited. There are two types of airspace – the lower and upper stratums.

The lower stratum

This is the airspace immediately above/around the land. Interference with this air space would affect the landowner’s reasonable enjoyment of the land and the structures upon it. You can prevent people from interfering with or intruding on this airspace. For instance, projecting eaves or advertising signs, and tower cranes being used for construction work on neighbouring land but which swing across your airspace.

The higher stratum

This is the airspace which exists above the height which is reasonably acceptable and necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land by its owner – around 500 to 1000 feet above roof space level (Section 76 Civil Aviation Act 1982). Landowners have no greater rights to this airspace than any other member of the public.


I thought exactly the same.


This then means I can deny access to anybody wanting to use the 0-500ft airspace above my house? Amazon / Google etc?
As noted by Asgard - the Lower Stratum definition, particularly Trespass, is vague and will no-doubt be tested by drone delivery companies in the near future… as soon as we’ve been kicked out of course.


Here’s some information I found on previous digging. Slightly different in Scotland which I won’t go into.

In 1977 the High Court of England & Wales held (in Bernstein v. Sky Views and General Ltd) that the practicalities of modern aviation made it necessary to “restrict the rights of an owner in the airspace above his land to such height as was necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of his land and the structures upon it, and to declare that above that height he had no greater rights in the airspace than any other member of the public.”. But in Scotland the old rule of unlimited airspace ownership is considered still to be the common law (See Professor Kenneth Reid – The Law of Property in Scotland). The landowner’s rights are limited only to the extent that specific legislation applies.

The (UK-wide) Civil Aviation Act 1982 denies the landowner any remedy for “trespass” or “nuisance” “by reason only of the flight of an aircraft over any property at a height above the ground which, having regard to wind, weather and all the circumstances of the case is reasonable, or the ordinary incidents of such flight.”. The specific legal restrictions on small unmanned aircraft (such as toy helicopters) include: no flights unless the person in charge reasonably thinks it is safe to do so and maintains “unaided visual contact” sufficient to navigate safely. If surveillance kit (a camera) is aboard, more restrictions apply, including the need to stay at least 30 metres away from “any person”, except the craft’s controller, during takeoff and landing (Air Navigation Order 2009). Flying over or near residential premises with an onboard camera may amount to “intrusive surveillance” requiring authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000, an authorisation that can be given only for police surveillance for criminal investigation purposes. Any use of a surveillance camera is also likely to come under the Data Protection Act as there is likely to be other information with which the images can be combined as “personal data”. Passing satellites, whether from the UK or another party to the UN Outer Space Treaty, are dealt with by the Outer Space Act 1986.


I’ve read that before too - that could be interpreted as using an FPV camera for navigation is ok? But recording and storing the images is not?


It’s an old article and most of it refers to Scotland but the case law for England and Wales probably gives insight into why the CAA state landowners have no right to airspace above property.

Any camera fitted to an aircraft whether it can record or not falls under the 50m rule. The 50m from people or structures is purely privacy related.

If your maintaining 50m from people and property it is my understanding they would have no right to complain invasion of privacy or intrusive surveillance.


This is why I fly almost exclusively @ 399ft

However - I’m not sure if any of this helps northernlights53 :man_shrugging:


I think the drone code has been written to take into account the ANO and existing case law.


It probably does if you consider the rules are the same for England and Wales.

A landowner can stop you from taking off on their property but not over flying.

Of course you would need to remain VLOS and respect 50m privacy from people or structures to stay legal.