Council eases lockdown on its parks and countryside sites

In response to the revised Government guidance issued on Sunday 10 and Monday 11 May, Horsham District Council is now easing some of the restrictions to public use in some of its parks and countryside sites.

The Government’s guidance states that you can now exercise as often as you like, while still following social distancing guidelines.

You can use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or a golf course with members of your own household, or one other person, while staying two metres apart.

People are now allowed to also enjoy leisure activities such as picnics and sunbathing, as long as social distancing is observed.

Social gatherings of more than two people from different households are still not permitted.

All our playgrounds and outdoor gyms, skate parks and the Highwood Pump Track are to remain closed at present in line with Government guidance.  It is still not permitted to play team games, except with members of your immediate household.

It is now permissible to drive to take exercise or visit outdoors sites.

Commenting on the easing of restrictions Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture Cllr Jonathan Chowen said:

“Being able to take exercise in the outdoors is extremely important for the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“Now that the Government’s guidance about exercise and travel has been updated, we are keen to help people visit our countryside parks and enjoy the outdoors, but in as safe a way as possible.

“They should still follow the rules regarding social distancing and stay alert to the risk of passing the virus on.

“People should not gather in groups socially or use play equipment and must take their litter home with them.”

Details of specific council owned parks and countryside areas are as follows:

Owlbeech & Leechpool Woods – Horsham – the Harwood Road car park is now open.

Monkmead Woods – West Chiltington – the car park on Monkmead Lane is now open.

Southwater Country Park – the main car park is now open. The café is open for takeaway food only.  The number of toilets available will be limited, whilst they undergo a deep clean, and essential repairs.  The beach area on the lake and Dinosaur Island play area will remain closed until we feel it is safe to be able to re-open them.

Warnham Nature Reserve – this site remains closed at present, due to construction of the new Discovery Hub building.  Temporary pedestrian access will be installed as soon as possible, and we hope the site may reopen during the week beginning 18 May.  The car-park will reopen once the site can be accessed.  The café and Visitor Centre are likely to remain closed for some time and will only reopen when we feel it is safe to do so.

All other parks and recreation fields remain open.

Grass cutting continues, although due to Covid 19, there have been delays in the mowing schedule that our contractors are working hard to correct.

Visit our website for full details and updates as the situation continues to change:

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