Moors Valley Country Park starts reopening

Moors Valley and Avon Heath parks are reopening on Tuesday morning following weeks of closure due to the coronavirus.

The move applies mostly to the toilets and car parking service, whilst play areas, cafes, visitor centres and cycle hire will not re-open.

The Verwood Skate Park is also set to officially reopen although it has been in use unofficially during the pandemic.

Dorset Council made the announcement on Friday, also saying Durlston and Thorncombe Woods will be welcoming visitors again from 9am Tuesday.

The country parks closed in March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Following the easing of lockdown by central government, the council has made some adjustments to the running of the parks so people can enjoy the open air and countryside whilst protecting their health during the current pandemic.

Councillor Peter Wharf, Deputy Leader, Dorset Council, said: “We understand that people are keen to get outdoors, so our country park teams and our partners Forestry England at Moors Valley, have worked hard to put in measures to help visitors enjoy the parks whilst protecting their health during the current pandemic.”

The range of measures for visitors’ safety include two metre distancing signs and provision of hand sanitiser. Rangers will be on hand to help people enjoy their visit and manage any queues.

Councillor Wharf continued: “As you can appreciate, we’ve had to make a number of changes to the way our country parks are operated so they can be reopened.

“This is a new experience for us all, and the teams on site will do their best to make sure everyone has an enjoyable time. The range of measures means there may be queues for facilities, including parking and toilets. Please be patient and understanding and respect others.

“By following the government rules on social distancing, and staying alert, we hope everyone will be able to enjoy our country parks.”

No timescale has been given for the opening of other services, but takeaway facilities will be made available later in the week ‘if possible’.

Updates will be posted on social media and on the council’s website.

Picnic benches are available at the parks and have been placed at a safe distance from each other so families can make the most of the outdoors.

Usual car parking charges will apply at all the parks, with contactless payment wherever possible. The car park machines will be disinfected hourly and hand sanitiser will be available at all machines.

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