As Covid-19 Lockdown 2 begins in England tomorrow (5/11/20), we would like to offer an update from the team at the Cotswolds National Landscape. The government has said that we should all stay at home. This is to protect the NHS from becoming overstretched through the winter, and to try and halt the exponential rise in Covid-19 cases. The new rules are here. Please take the time to read through them.
Thankfully, this time, we can still enjoy outdoor exercise (with members of our own households, or one person from another household), and we may travel to open spaces – but again, we should do our best to stay local.
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 (please use hand sanitiser and/or gloves), 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 to plan your walks – take drinks and food, and make sure you have planned for the weather (especially with your clothing and footwear). Time your walk so you are back at home, or at your car, before it gets dark.
- 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.
- Please use your common sense – keep dogs on leads and always pick up their mess, don’t release sky lanterns, don’t light campfires or bonfires, don’t drop any litter.
- Many local businesses will be closed – plan ahead, and bring food and drink with you…and please take your litter home! Some businesses may be offering take away food and drink – but again, please check in advance.
- Many toilet facilities may be closed – please check before visiting.
Having considered the new lockdown guidelines, we have decided to cancel our planned Rural Skills between now and the end of December 2020. This is for the safety of our participants, trainers, and landowners. It is also to avoid non-essential travel. We are hoping to reschedule courses for early 2021. If you have a place booked on a course affected by this decision, we will be in touch with you.
We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing volunteers. This includes over 350 Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, and a team of dedicated volunteers helping us with the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project. For the duration of Lockdown 2, we are suspending volunteering activities. If you volunteer with us, firstly, thank you very much; secondly, we will be in touch to keep you updated with any changes in the situation.
Since the beginning of the first lockdown, members of the team have been working from home. We will continue to do that. If you need to contact us, please use email in the first instance. Our email addresses are all on the Meet the Team page of our website.
We would like to encourage everyone to follow the Lockdown 2 guidelines, to take care of yourselves (and each other), and to stay warm and well through the winter.