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Council urges people to respect the countryside & follow social distancing guidelines

Walking, cycling and running in the countryside close to where people live is great for health and wellbeing. However, it is essential everyone respects private land and, when using public rights of way, stays on the paths and remembers to follow the Countryside Code while observing the Government’s social distancing guidelines at all times.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward said: “The Government has called on us to play our part in reducing the risk of the spread of Coronavirus by staying at home except for very limited purposes. Therefore, I would urge people to use public outdoor spaces and local rights of way sensibly, and to show respect to those around them, and the people that manage the area of land and livestock.”

Government guidance states that people should limit exercise outside to once a day only. When outside, residents are reminded to keep at least two metres apart from each other at all times – including when out on rights of way, riverside paths and canal towpaths. If the path is particularly narrow or constrained, people should make other walkers or runners aware of their presence, stand aside and wait for others to pass at a wider place.

Councillor Woodward continued: “We have been clearly asked not to gather in public places so we should not be seeing any large groups of people anywhere at this time. I would urge people to remember we are experiencing exceptional circumstances, and we should not be using this time to go on day trips to the countryside.  These are not normal times.

“If we all treat our outdoor spaces and others with respect, then we can hope to avoid further restrictions of movement which other countries are currently experiencing.”

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