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Covid-19 latest guidance on access to the Chilterns countryside

Wednesday 4 November 2020

From 5 November 2020, national restrictions will be in place to control the spread of Covid-19. While the Government is asking people to minimise time spent outside of the home, and to reduce the distance travelled, we are permitted to exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people we live with, our support bubble, or one person from another household.  

Outdoor public places include the countryside and we know that being outdoors and experiencing nature's beauty has become more important than ever. We have therefore updated our guidance on how to get the best out of your time in the Chilterns countryside, while keeping yourself and other people safe. If you are planning to take exercise 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 planning time in the Chilterns AONB:

  • 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. The latest advice on using public transport safely – including use of face coverings – can be found here.
  • 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 release sky lanterns and 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 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 time spent in the Chilterns is a safe and enjoyable experience.

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