The latest Covid19 guidelines from the Exmoor National Park Authority

COVID-19 Exmoor

Exmoor National Park Authority’s latest statement on Coronavirus

Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives

The Government has said that from 13th May people in England can spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules. This includes travel to National Parks. In response some car parks and public toilets have been reopened but please be aware most other visitor facilities remain closed.

When you visit the National Park, remember it is your responsibility to follow the new guidance on staying safe outside your home

If you choose to visit us in the weeks and months ahead, we want to make you aware of the measures we have put in place for everyone’s safety. And in return we ask that you follow a few basic rules for your own wellbeing and that of the communities and wildlife that call the National Park home.

By working together we can all do our bit to keep each other safe and control the spread of Covid-19.

Car parks and public toilets:

Most Authority-run carparks and toilets have now reopened to enable visitors to park safely without blocking highways and help people follow Government advice to wash hands more often for at least 20 seconds.

Not all public facilities are owned and run by Exmoor National Park Authority and many will only re-open when everything is in place to keep visitors and staff safe. When using any of these facilities, please follow any measures put in place to support social distancing and good hygiene.

Sites run by Exmoor National Park Authority

Facilities

Ashcombe (Simonsbath)

Public toilets and car park (open)

Blackmoor Gate

Public toilets and car park (currently closed for planned works)

County Gate

Public toilets and car park (open)

Haddon Hill

Public Toilets and car park (open)

North Hill

Car park only (open)

Porlock Weir

Public toilets and car park (open) (car park operated by Porlock Manor Estate)

Robbers Bridge

Car park only (open)

Tarr Steps

Public toilets and car park (open)

Valley of Rocks

Public toilets and ENPA car park (open)

Some other providers with visitor facilities in the National Park:

South West Lakes Trust

National Trust

Forestry England

Public Rights of Way and Access Land

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing. We have no legal powers to close rights of way but we can provide signage or waymarking and support optional alternatives where these are appropriate. Please see our Out and About Essentials page for more information.

Hospitality: In line with government measures and the current COVID alert level, all non-essential retail, food & drink outlets and accommodation providers are closed until further notice.

Accommodation and second homes: Going on holiday and visiting second homes is not yet permitted. Hotels, bed and breakfasts and other holiday accommodation will remain closed, except when providing accommodation for specific reasons, such as for critical workers needing a place to stay for work. Overnight stays in camper vans or tents are not allowed.

These are some of the things we are putting in place to help keep you safe:

  • Deep cleaning our toilets. We’ll do enhanced daily cleans from now on. We’ll also leave windows open and have extractor fans running longer to improve ventilation.
  • Social distancing measures, such as floor markings and signage.
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers in car parks and outside public toilets.
  • Extra patrols. Our rangers continue to assist the police to ensure people keep to the rules. Please be kind – they are only trying to keep you safe.
  • Changes to rights of way. Temporary one-way systems and optional path diversions to aid social distancing and avoid farms and homes. Please follow local signs.

And these are some of the things you can do for us:

  • Keep your distance. At least 2m from other people to maintain social distancing.
  • Avoid busy locations and settlements. Be prepared to change your plans if places get too crowded. Keep away from farms and homes where possible.
  • Consider when and where you go. Avoid peak times and popular locations, if possible.
  • Sanitise hands regularly. Bring your own supply if you can for use after touching shared surfaces such as gates or stiles.
  • Plan ahead. Bring enough food and drink and make sure you know where you are going. This is a rural area and many sites won’t have mobile reception.
  • Stay within your limits for your chosen activity and don’t light BBQs or leave litter that could result in an emergency call out.
  • Show respect to the local community and environment by sticking to the Countryside Code. Be aware that wildlife may have taken the opportunity to move into new locations while humans have been away.
  • Be kind. Above all we are in this together. Be considerate towards others and respect that you may not always see eye to eye.

For further information see:

Update Thursday 21st May 2020

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park, said: “In these troubling times, it’s understandable that people want to spend time in beautiful places. The biggest problem we are likely to face this weekend is overcrowding and it’s because we love these places so dearly that everyone must be prepared to make personal sacrifices to ensure those visits can happen responsibly, without serious consequences for those who live and work here.

“We are still learning about this virus, but we know that by staying apart we can control it. We ask everyone to follow the rules by keeping at least two metres from others and washing hands regularly. Visiting outside of peak times, avoiding popular sites and continuing to use green spaces closer to home are simple steps many of us can take to help make space for everyone.

“During these difficult times, farmers are working hard to provide food and care for the countryside, so it’s vital we keep their wellbeing in mind. Show your support by following the countryside code, keeping dogs under control and picking up any mess, which can be a health hazard to farm animals as well as people. Thoughtless behaviour such as lighting BBQs, illicit overnight stays and unnecessary risk-taking add to the pressure our local services face. With the recent warm and dry weather, we now face significant increased risk of wildfires, with local services already having dealt with one near miss this past week.

“Finally remember that we are in this together, for the long haul. It was in the wake of World War II that the UK saw its first National Parks designated – alongside our great National Health Service – their combined healing power needed to help the nation recover after the turmoil of war. While we wait for a breakthrough that will free us from this virus, it’s up to all of us to do what we can to make the world a safer and happier place.”

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