Kind, patient and safe Oxfordshire residents thanked

People exercising in Oxfordshire’s great outdoors have been thanked for being kind, patient and safe.

The Government recently reviewed its coronavirus restrictions meaning that more people are visiting Oxfordshire’s beautiful countryside and green space areas.

Feedback suggests that on the whole people are respecting the countryside code and looking after the safety of themselves and others.

And, with the warm weather bringing increasing numbers to some of Oxfordshire’s smaller towns and villages, there’s a request to park responsibly.

County Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet member for Highway Operation and Delivery, said: “From what I have seen people are still taking social distancing very seriously and it seems like more people are getting out and about on foot and on cycles, which is a really good thing.

“Many people are seeing some parts of the county that they may ever have seen before and I want to congratulate them for exploring open spaces considerately.

“Remember that many of our smaller towns and villages have very small roads and very limited parking. Check out parking before you go and don’t park on verges or in a way that makes roads too narrow – treat the communities you are visiting as if they were your own.”

Things to remember when you are out and about

The Government has published Frequently Asked Questions on what you can and can’t do, along with guidance on enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself and others. There’s also videos on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are planning a visit to Oxfordshire green spaces, countryside and public rights of way:

· Please remember that 2m social distancing and hygiene rules still apply, even outdoors and in the countryside.

· Pay attention to your safety. Coronavirus restrictions have meant that less path and countryside maintenance work is being carried out, so do take care.

· Plan your route in advance and try to visit less popular sites. Where possible, check online to ensure that the car park you plan to use is open, and bear in mind that some paths will be narrow in places.

· Consider walking or cycling to your chosen destination and ensure you follow Government advice on traveling safely if you use public transport.

· Always follow the Countryside Code.

· Even on a warm day, the temperature of a body of open water can remain very cold. Jumping into water can result in a cold-shock response. Find out more about water safety here.

· The Oxfordshire countryside is a living, working landscape. Please don't block gates, passing places or paths which are often in day-to-day use by our farmers and local residents.

· Most local businesses will still be closed. This includes restaurants, cafes and most shops. Therefore, plan ahead by checking online and consider bringing food and drink with you.

· Toilet facilities may be closed. If this is important to you, please check before you travel.

· Dispose of your rubbish considerately and, take it home. Litter spoils our lovely countryside for others and can also be a danger to wildlife.

· Keep dogs under control and pick up their mess, don’t release sky lanterns and don’t have barbeques or bonfires.

· Tread carefully. During lockdown, nature has reclaimed space! Please be very careful not to disturb wildlife. This might include ground-nesting birds, wildflowers, or animals that may have moved into areas unexpectedly during lockdown.

Be kind, be patient, be safe. We are all adjusting to this situation. Please think about others to ensure a safe, welcoming place for everyone.