On Monday 29th March, the lockdown rules in England are changing.
The government has said that from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
We anticipate that this will mean many people will feel the call of the wild and may wish to stretch their legs by getting out into the countryside. All our outdoor spaces have seen increases in the numbers of people enjoying everything the great outdoors has to offer us – especially the physical, mental, and emotional benefits it gives us. Fresh air has never been better for us, but we all need to help take care of the countryside as it takes care of us.
In the Cotswolds, we are expecting visitor numbers might be high, and so we’d like to encourage everyone to be tolerant and kind to one another over the coming months. Please read of the guidelines below before making any trips, so that we can keep respecting the countryside, and the people and wildlife that live here. Here’s a little video about respecting the great outdoors!
- HANDS – FACE – SPACE
Even when we’re outside, it will still be important to maintain social distancing, and continue to follow the hands-face-space guidance. Please give way and make space for one another on footpaths, please remember hand sanitiser or wash hands frequently if you’re able to, and remember a face mask for when you meet other people from outside your household.
- KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before you go anywhere, remember to plan ahead: check which car parks are open (and make a plan B for alternative parking arrangements if the place you aimed for is full), check if there are likely to be loos open where you’re going, and make sure you have the right footwear and clothing for the activity you’re planning.
- PLEASE PARK CONSIDERATELY
Remember not to park across driveways, gateways, or block any access. Farmers are always working hard and need to move their vehicles – so keeping access clear is a huge help.
Please try to avoid making any overcrowding worse – if where you’ve arrived is already full, please employ your Plan B and try somewhere else. Remember – emergency vehicles may also need access to car parks. Please avoid parking on verges / on the roadside – this is not only a potential hazard for road users, but also chews up the ground and turns the verge to mud.
- COUNTRYSIDE CODE
Please check the Countryside Code to make sure you know the best ways to respect the countryside while you’re away from home. The Countryside Code helps us all look after wildlife, habitat, and livestock. The countryside should be a safe space – please help us with that by taking a look at the Code ahead of your trip.
- TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME
Please bring a separate bag so you can collect up your litter and take it home with you. Please don’t leave it behind in the outdoors – it damages nature and is dangerous for wildlife and livestock.
- STICK TO THE PATH
The ground is still muddy in places, but please avoid the temptation to go around it! If you’re off the path, you could be damaging crops – and remember, that could be someone’s livelihood. It’s also important to stay clear of ground nesting birds.
- KEEP DOGS ON LEADS
Even if your dog has good recall, you never know what might be over the crest of a hill or round a corner. Even just the shock of a dog giving chase can kill a sheep, so please keep all dogs on their leads.
- BAG IT & BIN IT
An oldie, but a goodie! Please don’t leave dog mess – please bag it and put it in a dog waste bin when you find one, or take it home. Grazing sheep can be poisoned by dog poo if they eat it.
- BBQs ARE BETTER AT HOME
Even sparks might start wildfires, which will kill ground nesting birds and will damage the environment.
- TRY TO STAY LOCAL
Although the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March, many restrictions will remain in place. We are still being advised to minimise the number of journeys we make where possible, so please try and stay local.
- BE SAFE
Adventure within your limits – be kind to yourself and don’t take any unnecessary risks. Enjoy the fresh air, the views, and the exercise!