The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership are urging people to take extra care and respect local communities following changes to the guidance on taking exercise and travel announced by the Government on Monday.
Following the latest government announcement that people can take ‘unlimited outdoor exercise’ and ‘drive to other destinations’, the people, communities and wildlife of the Northumberland coast are sure to face an increase in visitor numbers in the coming days.
Whilst it is not in our nature to encourage people to stay away from this beautiful landscape, it’s currently vital that we do so to ensure these special places are not overwhelmed. This announcement came quickly and in many places on the coast, there is not the infrastructure in place, yet, to cope with an influx of people, support the necessary social distancing or to protect the vulnerable wildlife, communities, staff and volunteers.
We are asking people to:
- think carefully before deciding to come to the Northumberland Coast AONB;
- remember that all attractions, pubs, cafes, toilets and most car parks and shops remain closed;
- understand that this is a living, working area and that there is a need to respect local communities; and, if you do come
- avoid visiting towns, villages and other settlements; and
- follow the advice on signs to protect vulnerable wildlife (and please keep your dog on a short lead wherever you are asked)
Car parks are still closed; public conveniences are closed and businesses with conveniences are also closed. Shops are providing for local needs, they aren’t equipped or stocked to deal with an influx of people. These shops are lifeline for local people - please respect the needs of our small communities.
We all need to work together to protect the people, the wildlife and the places we cherish. We need to ensure we do not cause harm in order to be able to enjoy them in the future. The organisations responsible for looking after the coast will be opening in a gradual and phased way so we ask you to bear this in mind when considering travelling to the coast for your exercise.
It is also a critical time of year for beach nesting birds, who are going into their breeding season. A sudden influx of visitors puts the fragile nature of the coast at risk, as well as local communities.
We ask people not to visit at this time until organisations have had a chance to put safety measures in place for social distancing and reopen provision such as toilets and car parks. Announcements will be made by individual organisations and businesses when this is the case, so please check before you travel.
Leaving your home – the place that you live – to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is still not allowed; this includes second homes and holiday parks.
Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
14 May 2020