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National Park issues weekend guidance to keep people safe

Stay apart. Act responsibly. Save lives.Stay apart. Act responsibly. Save lives.

22 May 2020

The North York Moors National Park Authority is urging people to maintain social distancing this bank holiday weekend by avoiding busy hotspots or by continued use of open spaces near to people’s homes.

Places such as Sheepwash and Newton under Roseberry have proved popular since Government measures changed, which has made social distancing difficult at these locations. The Authority has therefore issued the following guidance to encourage visitors to seek alternative/quieter spots:

  • Moorland and forestry walks: Please remember that most facilities in the North York Moors, including toilets, are closed and relaxation of restrictions on the tourism industry are not planned until July at the earliest. So please plan before you travel and avoid popular recreation sites, and moorland and coastal villages. It's safer and more responsible to explore our open moorland and forestry areas, though please be mindful of local communities when choosing where to visit and park.
  • Forestry England: There are plenty of forest trails for walks, strolls and 'forest bathing'. The majority of Forestry England car parks are now open including those at Dalby Forest, Clay Bank, Kilburn Woods/The White Horse, Broxa Forest and Silton Forest. Please see their website for more details.
  • Other ideas: Off-the-beaten-track routes suggested by locals are a great alternative to the honeypot sites. Sources of local routes include ViewRanger, a digital guide to the outdoors with downloadable route guides and outdoor maps.
  • Walking Britain website also has lots of local suggestions for walks in the western half of the National Park.
  • We have also created a list of car parks within the National Park which are currently open and which are closed to help when planning your day.

The National Park remains on fire alert and so no one should be lighting fires or BBQs in the open countryside. Such actions would also put unnecessary strain on the emergency services as they combat the coronavirus.

The Authority would also like to remind people that you could be fined if you are found parking in a dangerous or obstructive manner. This includes restricting access for residents and emergency vehicles at locations such as Cod Beck.

Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority said: “We need people to remember that large gatherings at beauty spots will only make social distancing incredibly difficult. So, if it feels too crowded, it is too crowded - please go elsewhere. We are committed to keeping people safe, but we can only do so if people stay apart and act responsibly. Please do so this weekend.”

Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Head of Local Policing at Cleveland Police, said: “People must take notice of important information from the North York Moors National Park Authority when planning their Bank Holiday weekend outdoor activities. Personal responsibility is, now more than ever, absolutely key - think carefully about where you are going and how you will be able to keep your distance from others. Keep in mind the purpose of the regulations and the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker of North Yorkshire Police, added: “I echo the message from our colleagues in Cleveland that personal responsibility is now key in our fight to control the virus. It has not gone away and although the regulations have changed to allow more travel to open spaces for exercise and mental wellbeing, we ask people to please plan where you are going and how you will be able to keep your distance from others when you get there. Wherever you may visit, please remember and respect the local community and the efforts and sacrifices they have made over the past eight weeks to control the virus.”

The National Park Authority is carrying out a phased reopening of some of its car parks and public toilets. This included reopening Newton under Roseberry, Sutton Bank and Saltergate car parks on 13 May.

The toilets at Sutton Bank are open but at a reduced capacity and on reduced hours (10am-3pm).

The Government has stated that outdoor exercise is only allowed if people are abiding by social distancing rules, which includes staying two metres apart from anyone not in your own household. If you would like to learn more about what you can and can’t do as part of the recent changes in guidance, please visit the Government’s website here.

To stay updated with the latest actions the Authority has taken in response to the coronavirus please visit:


Media contact

Charlie Fox, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority
01439 772700

The North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres), the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

Further information about the North York Moors National Park and other press releases are available here: