We have received concerns from some members of the public about rights of way remaining open at the present time.
At present we believe public rights of way in the Yorkshire Dales National Park provide an opportunity for local people to take exercise, physical and spiritual, and get some fresh air in these difficult times. These paths should not be blocked or obstructed.
It is also important to stress that people should not be making special journeys to access them. Travel to exercise is NOT essential travel and people should not be travelling to do their daily exercise.
Local communities throughout the park rely on these rights of way, and their safety should not be compromised by unnecessary travel into and around the park, so if there is a particular problem with people gathering on rights of way, then the Police should be informed. They have the power to disperse any groups behaving in such a way.
Where rights of way pass close to, or through residential and agricultural properties, it is important that the existing Government advice regarding social distancing and hand washing is adhered to. The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow this advice.
The National Park Authority will work with the Highways Authorities in Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire to take any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance, however, at this time there are no plans to close public rights of way.
Nick Cotton, Member Champion for recreation management said: “Walking or cycling in the Yorkshire Dales, carried out responsibly, with social distancing from other people, is an excellent way to maintain our physical and mental health. These are both vital components in keeping our strength and maintaining our spirits through the COVID-19 crisis. The days are getting longer and we should channel the energy of springtime to help us face the future with positive feelings of rebirth and renewal”
Finally, it is important that people stay home, and only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
For any issues relating to rights of way please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, we will continue to review the wider situation daily and would advise people to keep up to date at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk