Coronavirus and the Coast Path
This page is up to date as of Wednesday 22nd December 2021. For the most up-to-date information and guidance please visit the Government website directly. A summary of the latest Government changes is listed at the bottom on this page for your convenience.
Enjoying the National Trail:
Following a period of relaxed restrictions, the recent emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has reintroduced the compulsory use of face coverings in shops and on public transport.
There will continue to be no limits on how many people can meet up; social distancing (except in some places) is not mandatory; and pubs and restaurants are able to provide self-service.
*However, please note* there are many businesses in the South West who have their own restrictions in place, for the safety of their staff and customers - so please respect the local practices in place when visiting the South West Coast Path and surrounding areas. We do ask that you still ‘tread carefully’.
The recent changes in response to the Omicron variant, come following the Prime Minister's address on 27th November.
These changes come following the Prime Minister's address on 12th July, which confirmed a move to Step 4 of the Roadmap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I visit the South West Coast Path?
- Yes. The South West Coast Path is open and you can now meet indoors or outdoors with no limits on the number of people in your group size.
- You do not have to stay 2m apart from people, but please be considerate that others using the Coast Path may still want to social distance to protect themselves and/or loved ones who may be more vulnerable. Please continue to carefully consider the risks to you and the people around you when enjoying the trail.
Can I travel to visit the South West Coast Path?
- Yes. Domestic overnight stays are allowed and there is no restriction on the number of people you can holiday with.
- With many countries on the red and amber list, the South West continues to be a popular choice with holiday makers, so please plan ahead and avoid the busiest times and routes if you can.
- Car parks are open, but some may be closed or operating at lower capacity. If driving to access the Coast Path, please check car parking before you go. Do not park anywhere that could cause an obstruction for residents or for emergency services requiring access.
Are businesses and facilities open?
- Yes. Hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes are open. However, many businesses in the South West continue to take a more considered approach to easing the restrictions they have in place, for the safety of their staff and customers. Please take note of individual business practices and adhere to any restrictions in place (this may include for example still wearing face masks, limiting the number of people in a group or still operating table service only).
- All holiday accommodation is open, including hotels, hostels, B&Bs and campsites. For your own safety and the safety of others, again please follow any Coronavirus measures businesses still have in place.
- Entertainment and visitor attractions such as cinemas, zoos and theme parks are open. Many have introduced online booking systems, so it is advised that you look at the attractions website prior to visiting to avoid disappointment.
- Shops and supermarkets selling food and medicine are open. With the new guidelines in place, you will be expected to wear a face covering. However, we advise you always take sufficient food, water, essentials such as medicine with you on any walks on the Coast Path.
- Public toilets are open, however you may find some have been closed, so please take this in consideration when planning your visit.
Can I come on holiday to the South West or stay at a second home?
Yes. Domestic overnight stays are allowed. If however, you are travelling to the Coast Path from abroad, please check the Government website for more guidance on entering England based on red, amber and green listed territories.
How should I behave whilst enjoying the Coast Path?
As more of us share outdoor spaces, it is more important than ever to respect other people and protect the natural environment. When visiting the South West Coast Path, please always follow the Countryside Code:
- Be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
- Be nice, say hello, share the space
- Follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available
Protect the environment
- Take your little home - leave no trace of your visit
- Do not light fires and only have BBQs where signs say you can
- Always keep dogs under control iand n sight
- Dog poo - bag it and bin it - any public waste bin will do
- Care for nature - do not cause damage or disturbance
Enjoy the Outdoors
- Check your route and local conditions
- Plan your adventure - know what to expect and what you can do
- Enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory
Official Government guidance
How to stay safe and help prevent the spread
- No limit on meeting people but try to meet others outside where possible.
- People currently working from home are encouraged to return to the workplace.
- Nightclubs, theatre, and cinemas are open.
- Businesses and large events encouraged to use COVID-certification to limit spread of virus.
- As of 29th November 2021, temporary measures have been introduced for three weeks. This includes the compulsory use of face coverings in shops and on public transport.
We are delighted that all businesses along the Coast Path are now able to open and return to ‘business as usual’. It makes us even happier that during this challenging period, we have connected the Coast Path to more than 350 businesses via our Way Maker programme. Way Maker businesses are now helping us to look after the Coast Path, whilst promoting their services to the 9 million walkers that visit the National Trail.
As the charity that champions, protects and cares for the Coast Path, we have created the Way Makers program with the aim of supporting local businesses in their recovery from the pandemic. It has been designed to enable businesses such as cafes, campsites, B&Bs, hotels, pubs, restaurants, attractions and activity providers to promote their offering on Coast Path walks within a five-mile radius of their location. The cost-effective scheme, connects walkers to businesses that will help them plan a trip to the Coast Path, giving businesses and walkers an opportunity to support the Coast Path, which is facing increasing challenges due to coastal erosion, climate change and increased footfall. Please use our accommodation, food and drink and experience finder in the EXPLORE section of our website to find supporting businesses.
For local businesses wanting to find out more about joining the South West Coast Path Association as a Way Maker, visit https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/support-us/waymaker/
Stay connected to the Path
To keep up to date with the South West Coast Path please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also share your stories about being reunited outdoors with friends and family using the hashtag #southwestcoastpath
Update for Members of the SWCPA
All charity staff are combining working from home with limited office time, to help contain the virus and reduce the chances of it spreading within the team and those we work with. The majority of our activities and meetings are taking place virtually or outside until further notice. We apologise for any disruptions to servicing memberships, donations, fundraising requests or responding to general enquiries during this time.
Published on: Dec. 22, 2021