However, it is reminding all those that choose to visit the area to act responsibly and with great consideration for the wildlife and communities who live there.
The National Park Authority is working alongside other bodies, including Forestry England and North Yorkshire Police to ensure that public safety remains a top priority, alongside the protection of the local environment. There will also be an increased number of National Park Rangers and volunteers at various sites over what is expected to be a busy Easter period.
Tom Hind, chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “We recognise that many people have had limited access to open green spaces over the last few months, and that adhering to the ‘Stay at Home’ guidance has not always been easy on physical and mental health. Spring has now arrived and lockdown is easing, but it is essential that our eagerness to return to more relaxed times does not lead to harm, either to other people or to the countryside.
“We ask everyone to act responsibly and stay safe. Please continue to think carefully about your journeys and interactions, making sure you follow both national advice and local visitor information. Overcrowded beauty spots not only increase the likelihood of Covid-19 transmission, but are in themselves harmful to the environment and more likely to result in issues such as congestion and litter.”
“We are delighted to welcome you back to the North York Moors in your own time, but there is no rush. And when you do get here, please treat this very special place with the respect it deserves.”
To help the public enjoy the North York Moors safely, the National Park Authority has a dedicated Covid-19 webpage with up-to-date information regarding open facilities, car parks, and suggestions of where to find quieter trails and spaces. Included are the following key guidelines:
Follow the latest Government advice - Observe social distancing rules and clean your hands regularly. Bring hand sanitiser for use after touching shared surfaces (including gates and stiles) and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.
Know The Countryside Code - If you do choose to visit in the North York Moors, please make sure that you read and follow The Countryside Code of ‘Respect, Protect and Enjoy’. This includes being considerate to others, taking litter home, picking up and disposing of dog poo in a bin and never lighting fires!
Plan ahead - Before travelling, please check online to see if the outdoor public space is open, as well as for any road closures and weather warnings.
Avoid popular spots - If you arrive at a site that is already busy, please go elsewhere or come another time. If car parks are full, do not park on verges or block gates.
Look after wildlife and livestock - Always keep your dog on a short lead near farm animals and under close control wherever you are to protect wildlife. When walking, stick to defined routes and tread carefully. If driving, please slow down and drive with care on moorland roads.
Forestry England manages and cares for a number of popular woodland sites in the North York Moors National Park. Tanya Nesbitt-Rex, Head of Recreation for Forestry England Yorkshire district, said:
“We know how valuable outdoor spaces have been to everyone during the last year and as the current restrictions are eased we are looking forward to the weather improving and are expecting an increase in people visiting our woodlands. Visitors will need to plan their visits and consider that they may need to change their plans if sites and areas are reaching capacity. Our priority is to ensure our visitors enjoy a positive experience in the outdoors and are safe by everyone acting responsibly with regards to appropriate parking, litter, fires and protecting the wildlife so that our woodlands can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.”
For full information regarding the North York Moors National Park’s response to Covid-19, including a list of open facilities and the measures currently in place, please visit north northyorkmoors.org.uk/coronavirus site. Simple visitor advice for all UK National Parks can also be found at nationalparks.uk site.