People urged to stick to social distancing guidelines when visiting the Lancashire countryside this weekend

People visiting the Lancashire countryside this weekend are being urged to stay safe and stick to social distancing guidelines to "protect the NHS."

By Sean Gleaves
Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:51 pm

The county council's countryside parks can get very busy and it may be difficult for people to socially distance at Beacon Fell, Wycoller and the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire County Council has warned.

Car parks at these country parks are open, but facilities such as visitor centres, cafes and toilets remain closed.

Waste bins are currently not being emptied and people are being asked to take any litter back home with them.

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The council said anyone who is thinking of driving somewhere new may want to consider other more local options so the countryside parks do not become overcrowded.

County Councilor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Technical Services, Rural Affairs and Waste Management, said: "People can come and use our country parks, but we want them to be mindful that places like car parks and picnic areas can easily be overcrowded.

"There are miles of open countryside with good public footpaths and easy access across Lancashire. We'd urge people to consider visiting these areas nearby where they live too."

Staff who work in the parks have been redeployed to work on other Covid-19 related duties, meaning many facilities will be closed.

Car parks at these country parks are open, but facilities such as visitor centres, cafes and toilets remain closed.

Tim Blythe, the county council's Countryside Service Manager added: "When choosing where to go, we want people to consider whether traveling is necessary and whether it will be easy to keep to the social distancing rules when they get there.

"When large numbers of people travel to one area, it becomes very difficult to socially distance, putting you and your family at risk.

"This will be the case if too many people visit our country parks. If people do visit, we'd ask them to follow the countryside code, take their litter home and be aware of the wildlife in the parks, which has been thriving during lockdown."

Anyone who does visit the parks are being urged to stick to the social distancing guidelines so we can protect our key workers and reduce the pressures on the NHS.