National Trust to keep outdoor spaces open during England lockdown – where to go near you

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Lockdown is set to begin tomorrow (November 5) with non-essential shops, restaurants and pubs being forced to close for a month. The lockdown is set to last until December 2 and is being put in place to help halt the surge in coronavirus infections up and down the country. Britons will not be allowed to socialise with people outside their households or bubbles indoors or in private gardens.

However, the government has said people can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people they live with, their support bubble or when on their own, one person from another household.

Outdoor public places include neighbourhood streets, parks, beaches, and the countryside, public gardens and grounds (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments and outdoor playgrounds.

In light of these rules, the National Trust has announced that it will stay open for local access to parks, gardens, countryside and other outdoor sites during lockdown.

However, the charity will be closing its houses, shops and holiday accommodation in England from tomorrow.

A statement from the Trust said: “Following the government’s announcement of a four-week lockdown in England, we intend to keep our gardens, parks and countryside sites open but will close our houses, shops and holiday accommodation in England from Thursday, November 5.

“Our coast and countryside sites and car parks will remain open.

“We intend to keep our gardens and parklands open with pre-booking to encourage local people to enjoy open space while adhering to the government’s guidance and maintaining social distancing.

“Where possible visitors will still be able to get takeaway food and drink and outdoor play areas will remain open in line with government guidance.

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“Our online shop will continue to offer customers gifts, garden and homeware, books and clothing.

“We were forced to make spending cuts and redundancies last month after the crippling financial effect of the coronavirus and have said we’re likely to use the government’s furlough scheme again to avoid further redundancies.”

The National Trust’s Director General Hilary McGrady said: “We follow government advice and guidance at all times, in each of the nations we serve.

“We know how important access to green space, nature and fresh air are to people, and we’ll do everything we can to provide them during the next phase.

“Our priorities will remain the safety and well-being of visitors, staff and volunteers.”

She added: “We know this month is going to be tough for everyone and we want to give members and visitors as much pleasure, rest and enjoyment as we can.”

Wales is currently in a “firebreak” lockdown which has seen pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops told to shut and people told to stay at home.

The devolved nation’s lockdown is set to end on November 9, which is when the National Trust has said it will reopening its sites there.

In Northern Ireland all historic houses are closed, and cafes are only offering a takeaway.

Scotland has a “level” system in place which could see some sites remain open and others close depending on what level the region is in.

Some of the sites that could remain open in England include Alderley Edge and Cheshire countryside in Macclesfield, Cheshire; Aira Force and Ullswater, Penrith, Cumbria; Ashclyst Forest in Exeter, Devon; Ashridge Estate, near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire; Badbury, near Swindon, Oxfordshire; Basildon Park in Reading, Berkshire; and Blackcap in Lewes, East Sussex.

The National Trust website has a search engine which can find sites close to your location that are open during lockdown.

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