Published: 13 May 2020

Be Safe Outside. Stay 2 metres apart.

National Parks UK has a four-step guide for people thinking of visiting a National Park during COVID-related restrictions.

  1. Know and follow the latest Government advice
  2. Plan ahead – check the latest local information
  3. If it feels too crowded, it is too crowded
  4. Be kind out there

1. Know and follow the latest Government advice

The advice to the general public about outdoor exercise is different in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments’ advice remains this: Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives. Their advice and laws apply to everyone. Travelling to visit a National Park in Wales or Scotland is currently not allowed.

Latest Government advice in England.

Latest Government advice in Scotland.

Latest Government advice in Wales.

2. Plan ahead – check the latest local information

The UK Government has relaxed restrictions in England and people are now able to drive in order to exercise. Each National Park faces specific challenges and risks. We strongly advise anyone thinking of travelling to one of the English National Parks first to check the latest advice on their website. The situation is fluid and this is updated frequently. You can find links to National Park information pages at the end of this page.

Use the advice and tips they give to keep yourself safe, avoid ‘honeypot’ crowds and be aware in advance of what facilities are available or not. Not all car parks and visitor facilities are managed by National Parks but where possible they will have links to Local Government, charities and other organisations who can help you plan ahead. Access to toilet facilities and water will be significantly reduced as the majority of local businesses remain closed.

Re-think risks associated with your usual activities. Avoid putting a strain on Emergency services and volunteer rescue services that often rely on Emergency care front line staff.

3. If it feels too crowded, it is too crowded

It’s only an outside space if you are 2 metres apart. It can be disappointing to plan a visit and find other people have got there first but don’t push ahead with your plans if it feels unsafe. If car parks are full do not block access for local residents and emergency services. Use the information and guidance on local National Parks websites and social media channels to do the sensible thing and find your own safe space.

4. Be kind out there

We’ve all had it tough and no one can guess the battles that the other person is fighting today. Let’s make a promise to give each other a massive break while we all find our way to safe space.

Please be considerate of the rights of local residents, farmers and National Park employees to feel safe in the homes and places of work. Even if you feel safe, they may not.

And be kind to nature. The changes that have taken place whilst humans have been away are remarkable but this means that nature has moved into the spaces we have left – like footpaths.

It’s more important than ever to follow the country code.

And perhaps, for now, consider checking out the changes that have been happening in nature closer to home and give the National Parks and the people who look after and live in them a little time and space to welcome visitors back gradually and safely.