Following the government’s review of the Covid-19 situation on 11/5/20, we would like to offer an update from the Cotswolds Conservation Board. The government has said that we should all still try to stay at home as much as possible, but that we can also now enjoy more outdoor exercise (with members of our own households), and we may travel to open spaces. This is good news – it’s good for our bodies and our minds to get outside and connect with nature.
With this in mind, we’d like to remind those who are looking to enjoy the countryside on their doorstep of the following:
- We must still all observe social distancing guidelines, even outdoors and in the countryside.
If a walking path is narrow, wait for others to pass. Be patient.
- Respect those who live here.
Many of our countryside residents and landowners are older and fit into the ‘vulnerable’ category of those at risk from coronavirus. Help protect their health by remembering good hygiene around gates and stiles, being considerate about where you park, and looking out for and adhering to any route diversions (which may be in place to protect those on farms, for example asking walkers not to go through the yard, or not to go past the house etc).
- Plan your visit – try to avoid the honeypot locations (towns and countryside); research where you’re going to park; and check if the locations and car parks you’re heading to are open. Download self-guided walking routes.
- Remember the Countryside Code. Stick to it. If you don’t know it, learn it here.
- Tread carefully – remember that during lockdown, nature has reclaimed space!
Please be very careful not to disturb wildlife. This might include ground-nesting birds, wildflowers, or animals that may have moved into areas unexpectedly during lockdown.
- Please use your common sense – keep dogs on leads and pick up their mess, don’t release sky lanterns, don’t have barbecues or bonfires, don’t drop any litter.
- Many local businesses are still closed – plan ahead, and bring food and drink with you…but please take your litter home!
- Many toilet facilities will be closed – please check before visiting.
Take your time, and breathe – these are strange times, but we can take this opportunity to slow down, understand, enjoy and appreciate our surroundings more. Nature has a wonderful ability to help us to heal, and we should make the most of that, and be grateful for it.