• Editor

Exercise outdoors safely and responsibly this half term

With the spring half-term holiday ahead, Hampshire County Council is reminding people to act responsibly and follow latest Government guidance when exercising in their local outdoor spaces.

Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “Physical exercise is important for our mental health and we know that time spent outdoors provides an additional boost to our wellbeing. As we continue working together to help limit further spread of coronavirus, it’s crucial that we still minimise the time we spend outside our homes, but you can leave your home to exercise outdoors within your local area, provided you do so responsibly and in line with the current national guidance.

“When exercising outdoors in our stunning countryside, you should also follow the Countryside Code to help play your part in protecting our beautiful green spaces and local rights of way. This means planning ahead, consulting the Government website before you head out to understand the Covid-19 restrictions that apply, leaving no trace of your visit, and taking all your litter home.”

The County Council’s Queen Elizabeth, Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble and Royal Victoria country parks are open to local visitors, including country parks’ outdoor play areas, takeaway refreshments and toilet facilities. Normal opening hours and parking charges apply.

Councillor Heron continued: “Visitor numbers at our country parks typically peak between 11am and 2pm, so if you can visit your local country park outside these hours please do so, as it will help you keep a safe distance from others. As the days are drawing out and noticeably getting lighter, consider getting out earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when outdoor spaces are likely to be quieter.”

Manor Farm and Staunton Farm animal attractions and Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve remain closed.

Under the current national lockdown restrictions, people can continue to exercise alone, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and people should maintain social distancing and not travel outside their local area.

Details for each of the County Council’s country parks and countryside routes are available at www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo

For further information on the current national Covid-19 restrictions, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

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