From Wednesday 13 May the Government is allowing people to “exercise outside as many times each day as they wish” and stating that “people may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there”.
Whilst many of us will want to return to our AONBs for the health and well-being benefits they provide; safety remains our priority.
The landscape will still be here for everyone to enjoy when it is safer to do so and more facilities are available, but our over-riding priority is to ensure that both visitors and the residents of the Forest of Bowland remain safe; and to ensure we don’t place undue pressure on public highways, emergency services or key workers.
If you are making a special journey into the Forest of Bowland, please carefully consider your own wellbeing and that of the AONB's many small communities: home to many vulnerable people and a working environment for farmers and land managers.
Please bear in mind that the vast majority of facilities – including cafés, hospitality businesses and potentially many public toilets are not currently open.
If you've enjoyed exploring your local patch of Bowland from home, please continue to do so, while respecting the social distancing rules.
If you plan to visit the AONB in the coming weeks, we ask you to please act responsibly by sticking to these rules:
- Know the Countryside Code Plan ahead, take a map and exercise within your limitations to keep pressure off local resources.
- Avoid hotspots and busy spots – we know everyone has their favourite place in Bowland, but if large numbers of people all head to the same place, it becomes impossible to safely socially distance, putting you, your family and others at risk. If you arrive at a site that is already busy, please find an alternative.
- Many people in the local community are among the most vulnerable groups and still need to self-isolate. While walking, please keep a safe distance from homes, schools, and farms.
- Our farmers have been working hard to maintain food supplies during the pandemic. Support them and our communities by leaving gates as you find them, sticking to the path and keeping dogs on the lead (Note: If you are with a dog and cattle chase you, it is safer to let go of your dog's lead).
- Respect the plant and wildlife which has thrived during lockdown. This is a critical time for ground-nesting birds and other wildlife, so again please keep your dog on the lead and stick to the path.
- Strictly no BBQs or open fires, due to the danger of wildfire.
- Leave no trace. Take all your litter home.
- Travel sustainably: If you can, journey on foot or bike. This means you experience the wonderful scenery of the AONB en route and you don’t have to worry about finding a car parking space.
- Stay two metres apart and avoid gathering in villages where many of the shops and services remain closed.
- Be kind and respect one another.
Helping us with this huge collective effort to nurture our outstanding landscapes right now, means they will still be there for us all to enjoy when the current coronavirus restrictions are fully lifted and will ensure our vital rural economy bounces back even stronger.