Covid-19 latest guidance on access to the Chilterns countryside
We are now in a National Lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 and the Government has issued updated guidance. We are required to stay at home, but there are exemptions including leaving your home to exercise, though not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (such as a picnic or a social meeting). Outdoor exercise should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).
You can exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day. You should socially distance from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
We know that being outdoors and experiencing nature's beauty has become more important than ever. We have therefore set out some guidance below on how to keep yourself and other people safe whilst taking exercise locally in 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.
Key considerations when exercising locally in the Chilterns AONB:
- Try wherever possible to walk or cycle to your local greenspace. If you need to drive be aware that many countryside car parks will be much busier than usual. Park considerately. If a car park is full, please come back another time or find an alternative site to visit.
- Where possible, check online to ensure that the car park you plan to use is open.
- Plan your route in advance and try to visit less popular sites. To help, we have worked with the Chiltern Society to develop 23 social distance-friendly walks.
- Travel safely, walking and cycling if you can. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.
- Think of others by adhering to current social distancing guidance and be especially aware on narrow paths.
- Pay attention to your safety. Coronavirus restrictions in recent months have meant that some footpath maintenance work has been delayed, so do take care.
- Carry hand sanitizer and try to avoid touching farm gates, stiles, information boards and other infrastructure.
- Toilet facilities may be closed. If this is important to you, please check before you travel.
- Pubs, restaurants/cafes and visitor attractions will be closed (although some businesses are offering take-out or delivery instead).
- Always follow the Countryside Code. The Government has also published guidance on accessing greenspace safely in the context of Covid-19.
- 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.
- 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. Under the current restrictions volunteers, rangers and estate managers will not be doing litter patrols, and bins may not be emptied frequently.
- Keep dogs under effective control (on leads where required) and pick up their mess.
- Be aware of fire risk. Don’t have barbeques or bonfires.
- Tread carefully. Please be very careful not to disturb wildlife.
- Be kind, be patient, be safe. We are all adjusting to this changing situation. Please think about others so the Chilterns can stay a safe place for everyone.
Thank you for playing your part in making sure your time spent in the Chilterns is a safe and enjoyable experience.