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Lone walker Credit: Paul Harris

Being active during COVID-19

Friday 20 March, 2020, by Mark Sadler

The YDNPA has issued guidance to encourage and help the general public to exercise safely outside during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recognising the importance of being active to the physical and mental wellbeing of the population, the official message is that it is very important for children and adults to take exercise. While always following the Government advice on social distancing, and if not self-isolating, being active outside in nature is a very positive action to take.

The YDNPA Chairman Carl Lis said: “In this time of national crisis when almost all forms of travel, entertainment and social gatherings are severely restricted, a balance needs to be struck. We must shield the vulnerable and take action to restrict the spread of COVID-19, while doing all that we can to maintain our mental, social and physical health.

“A nation in lockdown could lead to enhanced anxiety and mental and physical ill-health. Careful managed exercise outside will provide welcome active release for individuals and families feeling trapped at home. Getting into the outdoors in a sensible way will make it easier for people to sustain Government guidelines and help preserve the health of the vulnerable in the longer term.

“The YDNPA advocates that people take active outdoor recreation alone or in small family groups, respecting social distancing with others and sticking to low risk, familiar activities and areas to avoid putting any strain on the rescue services. 

“The outdoors remains open and free to access. If you can get outside while taking sensible precautions, then please do so. Now, possibly more than ever, staying active is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

Picture of Mark Sadler

Mark Sadler

Mark is the Communications Manager with the YDNPA.


19 Replies to “Being active during COVID-19”

  1. Kim Addison says:

    We plan to visit next weekend. Can we still walk in the Dales

    • Mark Sadler says:

      Yes, and there are tips on how to do that safely in the article.

      • Mike Rogers says:

        We spend 3 days at a Dales Holiday Park and 4 in a local town and agree that YDNP should be more prescriptive about visiting villages and honeypots. There are thousand of miles of open countryside and paths to enjoy safely whilst being sensible and following government guidelines. However, people suggesting townies stick to local parks etc is both naive and irresponsible and stinks of nimbyism. Be balanced, you’ll want these people back to support local businesses so pls don’t alienate them.

  2. Pauline Hall says:

    Whilst applauding exercise and fresh air, its proven people are not acting sensibly or even self isolating. Is it responsible to encourage lots of people to walk and drive around the Dales to spread the virus where we have limited rural health services. If people come from Leeds for example
    where there are hundreds of cases does that not increase the risk for the Dale’s population!! Which is mainly elderly anyway.

  3. David Ryall says:

    Be careful what you encourage… Hawes was bustling with tourists yesterday afternoon (Friday 20th March) so when we went in the Spar (our local shop) it was rammed. Not good. Folks won’t just drive here, go for a walk and drive home. Many other areas are actively discouraging visitors.

    • David Ryall says:

      Here is a statement from Dr. Meg Crossley, Malham Resident and A&E senior consultant at Airedale hospital.

      Coronavirus in Malhamdale

      Your local doctors and nurses and all their supporting teams of staff are working really hard to prepare for a huge surge in numbers of really sick people.

      We are training staff, building walls, increasing our working hours and coming back to work from retirement. But if we are going to limit the numbers of people who die we need your help. Going for a walk is great but you need to go somewhere quiet.

      Hundreds of people parking next to each other, using the public toilets, eating near each other in the village centre risks spreading the virus faster.

      We need time to prepare to take care of you and your family. We need that ‘surge’ to be slow and steady.

      Please consider carefully the implication of coming to Malham or encouraging others to come.

  4. Jack Sutton says:

    Really annoyed by this reckless statement. The official government advice is that people should only travel if it is absolutely essential, otherwise you need to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. Where do you think people will park when they come to the Dales to walk – places like Hawes which has been inundated by bikers, cyclists, cars and dog walkers today. Once again the YDNPA appears to be ignoring the health and wellbeing of the local population.

  5. Mark Sadler says:

    Thanks for the feedback and comments. We agree It is very important people pay close attention to Government advice on social distancing, and that we shield the vulnerable and take action to restrict the spread of COVID-19, while doing all that we can to maintain our mental, social and physical health.

    • David Ryall says:

      MSPs in Scotland are discussing legal measures to restrict tourism including campervans etc who perceive they are not a threat. Can I suggest YDNPA considers its position on this and actively discourage visitors for now? The current policy is vague and appears to encourage travel for leisure which is at odds with central government policy.

    • Edward Lumsden says:

      Yes and they can do it nearer their homes there are parks etc and open spaces….you are inadvertently adding to a growing crisis where local people here already have restricted access to services like hospitals and shops

  6. NHS NURSE says:

    You seem to be advising people to come to the dales. Which is contrary to the Governments advice to avoid all unnecessary travel. Your Vice Chairman Neil Heseltine has just posted on Facebook the following :

    So do you want visitors to come or not?

    As a healthcare professional I can’t stress enough how important it is to alleviate the pressure on the NHS at this trying time. I don’t feel this statement is helping.

  7. Sandra millman says:

    Horton in Ribblesdale has been packed today absolutely ridiculous . Why can’t people stay at home and exercise there. It’s not a joke it’s a deadly virus that’s active. People need to take notice and the YDNP need to act and stop people coming to our villages.

  8. Katie says:

    Civilized countries like Spain, France, Italy etc will not have taken the decision to enforce lockdown lightly that decision has been made due to the very real threat to life this virus poses. I live in the dales and I’m a key worker with a young child what good am I to my family and employer if I to catch the virus from an irresponsible visitor. Encouraging visitors at this time is against all government guidelines and is promoting the spread of the virus.

  9. Sarah Todd says:

    Ingleton Waterfalls had to close today due to being inundated with visitors. We are a very small community with a large elderly population who are being put at risk by this policy. Time to close the national Park and actually follow govt advice. If visitors continue as they are huge numbers of people in rural communities could be very ill or even die.

  10. Dr Michael Naylor says:

    Exercise is good but this irresponsible statement from YDNPA beggars belief. How is social distancing to be achieved in crowded villages, car parks and towns? Government advice is avoid all unnecessary travel. What in this simple advice does YDNPA not understand?

  11. Andy Whitney says:

    Absolutely appalled by the number of people that have travelled from all over the country to visit the Dales today. Horton in Ribblesdale and Ribblehead were both packed with cars and with groups of people wandering past each other!

    How can you possibly be encouraging people to travel to visit the Dales?!!!

  12. Bill Smith says:

    YDNP need to take down your irresponsible ‘advice’ to people to come to the Dales!! Have you seen the trouble you’ve caused in places like Ingleton and Malham today (Sat 21st) ? I live near Leyburn and not only are people coming to walk and in large groups they are also shopping and socialising in the towns. Our shops have been coping all week and we have not seen the panic buying that many places have. Today the influx of ‘visitors’ have realised our well stocked shops have items they cannot get and have cleared the shelves!! YDNP has a responsibility to protect the Dales communities!! Your stance is ill advised, goes against all government recommendations and is endangering the Dales communities

  13. Andrew Blackburn says:

    It seems to be very irresponsible inviting thousands of people to visit the Yorkshire Dales at a time when a lethal virus is spreading within our communities. Ribblesdale has suffered this weekend with large numbers of visitors who are ignoring social distancing advice, and before leaving for home visit local supermarkets for thier provisions.
    Please revise YDNP advice to potential visitors, stay away.

    • Peter says:

      Once again, the many spoil it for the few! If you read the original post he is not suggesting visiting key tourist locations as if it’s Easter, but merely an isolated wander around reasonably familiar territory, not going to any cafe, toilet, visitor centre at all, in fact not doing anything other than your walk, and then returning home isolated in your own in your car. Personally as a keen walker I can’t see an issue with that, but I can see issues with what people are reporting is currently happening. How you police this will probably mean a total ban, because a large number of people will be irresponsible and disregard advice, it’s human nature I’m afraid, especially British human nature!

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