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Covid-19 latest guidance on access to the Chilterns countryside

Thursday 14 May 2020

Following the Government’s recent review of coronavirus restrictions, we know that many people will want to visit the beautiful Chilterns countryside. We also know that being outdoors and experiencing nature's beauty has become more important than ever. Whilst we are always pleased to welcome visitors, we are, like many popular visitor destinations, concerned that more visitors than usual to our popular sites could put you, the landscape and those who live and work in the Chilterns at risk.

We have therefore set out below some guidance on how to get the best out of your visit, while keeping yourselves safe, and at the same time ensuring the health and wellbeing of other visitors and the people who live and work here.

In particular, if you are planning a visit to the Chilterns, please plan carefully, respect the countryside and others around you, take care to follow social distancing rules, and have consideration for the farmers and other land managers who care for this special landscape.

The Government has published an FAQ on what you can and can’t do, along with guidance on enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus. A press release explains the new measures, along with videos on Twitter and Facebook.

Key considerations when planning a visit to the Chilterns AONB:

  • Please remember that social distancing and hygiene rules still apply, even outdoors and in the countryside.
  • Pay attention to your safety. Coronavirus restrictions have meant that less footpath maintenance work is being carried out, so do take care. Bring hand sanitizer, and try to avoid touching farm gates, stiles, information boards and other infrastructure.
  • Plan your route in advance and try to visit less popular sites. Where possible, check online to ensure that the car park you plan to use is open, and bear in mind that some paths will be narrow in places.
  • The Government is advising people to avoid using public transport where possible. Please consider walking, cycling or driving to your chosen destination and ensure you follow Government advice on traveling safely if you do use public transport.
  • Always follow the Countryside Code.
  • The Chilterns is a living, working landscape. Please don't block gates or paths which are often in day-to-day use by our farmers and local residents.
  • Most local businesses will still be closed. This includes restaurants, cafes and most shops. Therefore, plan ahead and consider bringing food and drink with you.
  • Some farm shops and other local Chilterns businesses are open, but do check their opening times before you make a journey. See our blog on local businesses in the Chilterns. 
  • Toilet facilities may be closed. If this is important to you, please check before you travel. 
  • Dispose of your rubbish considerately. Bag it and bin it, or, preferably, take it home. Litter spoils our lovely countryside for others and can also be a danger to wildlife.
  • Keep dogs under control and pick up their mess, don’t release sky lanterns and don’t have barbeques or bonfires.
  • Tread carefully. During lockdown, nature has reclaimed space! Please be very careful not to disturb wildlife. This might include ground-nesting birds, wildflowers, or animals that may have moved into areas unexpectedly during lockdown.
  • Be kind, be patient, be safe. We are all adjusting to this situation. Please think about others so visiting the Chilterns can stay a safe, welcoming place for everyone.

The Chilterns, like all protected landscapes, is here for everyone to enjoy - and the need for nature and green space has never been greater. Thank you for playing your part in making sure your visit to the Chilterns is a safe and enjoyable experience.

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