AS outdoor spaces in Wales prepare to welcome visitors from Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people visiting the countryside, beaches and beauty spots to do so safely.
The requirement to stay local will be lifted on Monday (6 July), enabling people to travel in Wales and into Wales. It will also mean outdoor visitor attractions can open and it will pave the way for the tourism sector to begin re-opening from 11 July, if conditions allow.
The Welsh Government has been working with local authorities, national parks, Natural Resources Wales and other landowners to ensure Wales’ wonderful outdoors are ready to welcome visitors.
This includes new guidance about public toilets, focusing on hygiene, social distancing, signage and queuing. Not all public toilets, however, will be safe to re-open so people are being advised to check in advance what facilities will be open.
The countryside code has also been revised in light of the coronavirus pandemic and visitors to the countryside are now asked to:
Respect other people
Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear
Leave gates and property as you find them
Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow
Protect the natural environment
Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
Be careful with barbecues and don’t light fires
Keep dogs under effective control
Dog poo – bag it and bin it, or take it with you
Enjoy the outdoors
Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“We live in such a beautiful part of the world and I know many of us are looking forward to visiting beaches, the countryside and our many beauty spots.
“People throughout Wales have done so much over the last few months to follow the rules and help reduce the spread of coronavirus – I thank them for their patience and understanding. I ask them to continue in this spirit.
“Unfortunately, over the recent weeks we’ve seen the results of people not treating parts of Wales with respect, with crowds leaving piles of litter in their wake. This selfish behaviour is a blight on our beauty spots and puts people at risk.
“While many footpaths and car parks are re-opening, not all facilities will be available in every location straight away. Please, check websites where possible and plan your visit. If your planned destination is too busy when you arrive, have a plan B ready and try an alternative car park or destination.
“Coronavirus has not gone away and, while the evidence shows the risk outdoors is lower, there is still a risk. We therefore need to continue to act responsibly. Be kind to local residents and to fellow visitors by parking considerately, leaving nothing behind and following the recently revised Countryside Code.”
Tegryn Jones, chief executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, said:
“We know people have missed being outdoors and the important role that nature plays in supporting the health of our nation. We want to encourage people to enjoy Wales’ natural landscapes safely, responsibly and ultimately, more sustainably.
“National park communities are already working hard to ensure there will be a warm welcome for our visitors and we’re working hard with these communities and partners to ensure the national parks can be enjoyed safely by everyone.
“We urge those who choose to explore our landscapes in the coming weeks and months, perhaps for the first time, to do so with respect – for the people and wildlife, which call it home and for each other.”