Coronavirus and the Coast Path
This page is up to date as of Thursday 5th November. For the most up-to-date information and guidance please visit the Government website. Government restrictions are effective from Thursday 5th November - until 2nd Decemeber.
Accessing the South West Coast Path during lockdown:
The South West Coast Path provided vital support for people’s health and wellbeing during the first lockdown. We will be working to ensure it can offer the same support during this second lockdown. We ask that you follow our advice below for your own safety and for the safety of others. You can also find additional information and links to the latest Government advice below. Thank you for your co-operation, by following this guidance we can all continue to enjoy the countryside safely during the pandemic.
Can I visit the South West Coast Path?
- Yes. You are permitted to leave your home to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place (which include parks, beaches and countryside) with:
- the people you live with
- with your support bubble
- when on your own
- with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
- If you arrive at a location and see that it is already busy with other people exercising, please find an alternative place to go where it is easy to social distance. The South West Coast Path is 630 miles long and thus provides many opportunities to exercise safely.
Can I travel to exercise on the South West Coast Path?
- Yes. People are permitted to travel to exercise, if necessary. However, the Government is advising that you avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. A full list of permitted reasons to travel (including exercise) is listed here.
Will businesses and facilities be open?
- Maybe. To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered many businesses and venues to close. This includes businesses that are situated on or near to the Coast Path including cafes, restaurants, pubs, accommodation providers, recreational activity providers and visitor attractions. Whilst essential shops selling food and medicine are permitted to stay open, we advise that you take sufficient food, water and any other essentials (as required) when undertaking exercise on the Coast Path.
- Ferry services that are not essential for people to travel to work or education will not be running. Many ferry service also only operate on a summer timetable.
- Public toilets are permitted to stay open, however you may find some have been closed so please take this in consideration when planning your walks.
- Car parks are permitted to stay open, but some may be closed or operating at lower capacity during this time. Please check before you go. Do not park anywhere that could cause an obstruction for residents or for emergency services requiring access.
Can I come on holiday to the south west or stay at a second home?
No. Overnight stays and holidays away from your home are not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or stay with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. More information on travel can be found here.
Official Government guidance
Stay Home, Save Lives, Protect the NHS.
Stay At Home
Effective from Thursday 5th November the Government is advising people to STAY AT HOME. This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:
- for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
- for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
- to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
- for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
- to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Staying safe outside the home (Social Distancing)
You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space’
- hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
Meeting with family and friends
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit outdoor public places together.
You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:
- travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
- visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
- exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so
If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.
Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes, but this means people cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.
To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close.
- all non-essential retail
- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities
- entertainment venues such
- personal care facilities
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.
Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus
If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:
- should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
- should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
Click here and scroll down to bullet point 9 to check if you are considered vulnerable.
Access the full guidance on these restrictions here.
Read the most recent Prime Minister’s address for the latest information.
Access to Nature and Footpaths
The government’s priority is to save lives and the best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home. However, access to greenspace is still important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing. However, to protect yourself, the others and the enrionment please ensure you follow this advice:
- Advice on accessing green spaces safely
- Using the Countryside Code
- If possible try to avoid using footpaths that may take you through a farmstead or other rural business where social distancing may be difficult. The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using Public Rights of Way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing.
- Farmers, land managers and rural businesses all have an essential role in ensuring a healthy natural environment. Government advice and support is outlined here.
- Landowners do not have the legal right to block or obstruct Public Rights of Way. However, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using such routes, landowners may consider the following measures:
- Tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.
- Temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools.
- Offering an alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so (you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained.
All our National Trails remain open including newly opened stretches of England Coast Path, however people must follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing.
Supporting business and the local economy - Introducing Way Makers
Businesses located on or near the South West Coast Path are being drastically affected by the pandemic. As a charity we wanted to do our bit to support them on the path to recovery, so have launched a brand-new business programme called Way Makers.
Way Makers is designed to celebrate the role businesses play in making the way along the South West Coast Path such an amazing experience for the 9 million visitors each year who use it all year round.
If you run a business in the south west such as a B&B, hotel, campsite, restaurant, café, visitor attraction or activity – please check this section of our website to find out how to get involved.
Update for Members of the SWCPA
All charity staff are working from home to help contain the virus and reduce the chances of it spreading within the team and those we work with. As of Thursday 5th November all activities (such as our Couch to Coast programme and any other outdoor meetings are postponed.) We’ve moved all of our activities online including video and teleconferencing, for example we’ve moved our team and Board meetings from face-to-face to videoconference, along with our Coast Path Area Liaison meetings. We apologise for any disruptions to servicing memberships, donations, fundraising requests or responding to general enquiries during this time.
Mass participation events
Sadly the majority of mass-participation running and walking events due to take place on the Coast Path in 2020 are postponed or cancelled, this may include those still listed on our Event Calendar, so please check event organisers websites for more details or contact them directly for the latest information.
In the meantime why not put your training to good use and take on a solo challenge to raise money to help look after the Coast Path. Find out more here.
Published on: Oct. 21, 2020