Visitors flock to Shropshire beauty spots, against government guidance

Shropshire's parks and beauty spots are being inundated with visitors, despite government advice to exercise locally.

The situation at Carding Mill valley on Sunday. Photo: South Shropshire safer neighbourhood teams
The situation at Carding Mill valley on Sunday. Photo: South Shropshire safer neighbourhood teams

This weekend seven people were reported by police for breaching Covid-19 regulations by visiting the Carding Mill Valley near Church Stretton.

The National Trust car park was full when police teams arrived on Sunday.

Other beauty spots were also crowded as families made their own interpretations of government guidelines that do not specify how far you can travel but simply say to stay local.

In the Oswestry area the Racecourse car park above the town was busy all weekend as people drove to walk and play in the snow.

And other hotspots included the country parks of Ellesmere and Nesscliffe.

Crammed car parks

Shaun Burkey, Shropshire Council Countryside Officer said he had received numerous emails over the weekend from concerned residents and staff about people travelling to countryside sites.

"People are cramming car parks, blocking lanes and clearly not taking the Covid situation at all seriously. Some have described people as having a holding mentality."

He said as well as the risks from spreading coronavirus the visitors had also been dropping litter and not picking up after their dogs fouled on footpaths.

"The Government guidance is too vague. It should be that exercise should start and finish from home."

Mr Burkey said that closing countryside park car parks would simply lead to more lanes being blocked.

Closures

Across the Welsh border, where lockdown rules are that exercise must start and finish from home. Wrexham Borough Council has taken the decision to close its car parks.

"Due to the numbers of people travelling by car to our country parks, against current restrictions, we’ve taken the decision to close our car parks," Councillor David Bithell said.

"It’s not a decision that’s been taken lightly but due to the increasingly high numbers in Wrexham and across North East Wales it has become necessary to close the car parks to protect the public and to avoid taking up valuable police resources.

"The current restrictions require everyone to exercise locally and not to travel in order to do so. This means your exercise should begin and end at home."

He said the car parks would only be re-opened when it is safe to do so. The decision to close was taken in consultation with North Wales police.

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