During Lockdown, Northumberland National Park Authority has consistently followed government guidelines and encouraged people to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement to the Nation on Sunday 10 May 2020, in which he announced that driving for exercise is now permitted, we believe more people may be planning to visit the National Park. Whilst this may not be the approach we have been advocating, we will aim to deliver the Government’s message and manage the situation as safely and responsibly as we can.
Since the announcement we have been working hard to prepare for a phased return. From the morning of Friday 15 May in line with Government advice, other English National Parks and a number of our partners in the region, we will begin opening our car parks. Social distancing measures have been put in place, our ticket machines will be card only, signs will be in place providing advice and members of staff will be on patrol.
Our toilets will remain closed until we are confident that we can open them safely and our visitor centres remain closed in line with government advice.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive Officer at Northumberland National Park said:
“We would like to thank everyone for their patience. We recognise that many people have missed the National Park and are looking forward to enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits it brings especially at this difficult time. The National Park is a living, working landscape, and we ask that people respect this and consider whether their visit to the National Park is necessary at this time.
Our priority will always be the safety of our communities, staff, volunteers and visitors. We ask everyone to be responsible, considerate and kind as we take the next steps towards the Nation’s recovery. Many facilities in the National Park remain closed and so people should be mindful of this when deciding if they should visit.
We ask everyone to consider the following steps before making a journey to Northumberland National Park. We all need to do our bit to control the spread of the Coronavirus and every action you take will make a difference.
- Be Responsible
- Social distancing should be followed at all times. Practice the 2m rule everywhere you go.
- Brush up on the Countryside Code, which can be found here.
- Keep your dog on a lead and take litter home with you.
- Don’t light a fire or have a BBQ, during prolonged periods of dry weather, wildfires are a significant risk in the National Park
- Be aware that there may be no toilet facilities when you visit – National Park toilets are closed.
- Be Considerate
- If you have hand sanitiser, bring it with you and please use it before and after you touch gates or fences.
- Park in designated car parks. Don’t park on the road side, or block gateways, narrow lanes or driveways.
- Keep a safe distance from schools, farms and homes.
- Try to avoid public rights of way which pass through farms if you can.
- Exercise lightly, but now is not the time for adventure and pushing yourself. Many of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue team are also key workers so it’s important we protect their volunteers. A statement and advice from Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue can be found here.
- Be Kind
- Protect vulnerable people in remote communities – practice social distancing at all times.
- Avoid towns and villages where possible.
- Only visit with people from your own household.
- Whether you are a visitor, or a local resident, show respect towards and support one another both in the countryside and on social media.
Please continue to follow Northumberland National Park on social media for updates.