Forest car parks and visitor facilities remain closed
Thanks to all those who are staying home this weekend.
Government restrictions are to stay local when exercising and use open spaces near your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily. This will help stop the spread of Coronavirus and save lives. Forest car parks and visitor facilities remain closed until we can safely explore the National Park again.
Joint press release with New Forest District Council:
Stay away, stay safe, see you later
As the Easter weekend approaches, visitors and second homeowners are being asked to stay away from the New Forest and follow government rules to stay home and stay safe.
New Forest District Council Leader and National Park Authority member, Cllr Barry Rickman, said: ‘The Government’s priority is to save lives. The best way for everyone to protect themselves and others from illness is to stay at home and so we are reminding all visitors and second home-owners to please not visit the New Forest.
‘It is vital that you play your part in limiting the spread of the Coronavirus and helping to save lives. And if you are leaving your home for exercise once a day, please stay local and use open spaces near to your home.
‘We will love to welcome you back again later in the year. For now, stay home, stay safe.’
Visitor facilities including public toilets, BBQ areas, car parks, and campsites are closed to meet the Government’s restrictions to reduce non-essential travel.
Hampshire Police has said it will continue to be out this weekend to ensure social distancing and that everyone is staying safe, and officers will continue to engage with the public to ensure Government guidelines are adhered to.
New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘It is very important for us all to continue to observe the Government’s restrictions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. We must stay at home at this critical time, and avoid any temptation to travel to the New Forest, unless it’s an essential journey.’
Go New Forest is also supporting the Stay Home for now message: ‘We would normally love to see all our regular visitors, but we really need you to support Government advice to stay at home and stay safe. We all have a responsibility – visitors, visitor businesses and local residents – to heed government advice and help save lives. If you have a holiday booked in the coming weeks, please contact the provider directly. If you’re postponing a visit, we look forward to welcoming you in happier times.’
See the latest information from government at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
2pm, 23 March
Essential travel guidance from Government:
‘Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.’
Moors Valley update:
‘Moors Valley is now fully closed to all visitors until further notice.’
Lepe Country Park update:
‘Please DO NOT DRIVE to Lepe as there is NO PARKING on site and all facilities at the park are now CLOSED (including the play areas, toilets etc). The open spaces at the park are accessible for LOCAL visitors to walk round if they are following the latest government guidance on social distancing.‘
1pm, 23 March
For updates on New Forest District Council services including community information, waste, support to businesses, housing, planning, benefits, and council tax, please see www.newforest.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Statement from Forestry England: Access to the New Forest
This weekend, right across the country we have seen large numbers of people visiting public outdoor spaces, and it has not always being able to achieve social distancing. Covid-19 means that this is a threat to people’s health.
Our priority is to keep the public and our staff safe and as a result we are in the process of closing all main car parks in the New Forest from today. The car parks affected are those at Bolderwood, Wilverley, Blackwater, Whitefield Moor, Anderwood, Hatchet Pond and New Forest Reptile Centre. All of our public facilities within the New Forest are already closed including public toilets, visitor cabins, and BBQ facilities. Campsites are also closed and we would like to remind people that wild camping is illegal anywhere on the New Forest or in its car parks.
Smaller car parks in the Forest remain open for now. We have taken the decision not to close these for several reasons. We are concerned that closures would lead to large amounts of parking on verges and open ground causing real and irreversible damage to the landscape. Parking at locations away from the network of tracks would also lead to large numbers of people walking across the open forest putting wildlife at huge risk, particularly as it’s the start of the ground nesting bird season in these areas.
We will keep the situation under constant review and may close all car parks with immediate effect if the government’s guidelines on social distancing are not being adhered to or if the advice from Public Health England changes. Local people still have access to the countryside but we ask everyone to ensure they follow government guidance on avoiding all non-essential travel and social distancing to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.
We ask people to please follow Government guidance around social distancing and non essential travel.
All Camping in the Forest campsites are now closed.
Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
In line with Government advice, our reception is now closed and all events and meetings are cancelled or postponed.
However we can be contacted via email and phone.
We are aiming to process planning applications which have already been submitted and if you are submitting a new application, we are reviewing the services we will be able to deliver.
General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01590 646600
Planning enquiries: email@example.com
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