Now that the government have announced that up to six people from different households can exercise together in open spaces, we thought this would allow us to walk again in groups of six. However, One Step Walkers cannot organise any walks yet as Ramblers have stated that all Ramblers activities and group walks remain suspended. See link at https://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/coronavirus.aspx. This may change as lockdown eases, however the Ramblers advice for people who are walking is:

Whether alone, with your family or with members of another household, we advise all walkers to:

1 – Be prepared
Some hotspots could be busy and facilities such as car parks, shops and especially toilets may be closed or access reduced, so plan ahead before setting out – including checking the relevant website for your destination.  Some locations remain closed to visitors

2 – Be safe
Support our NHS, emergency services and rescue teams by avoiding riskier outings and abiding by the latest guidance for EnglandWales and Scotland including on hygiene and physical distancing – particularly if you meet anyone from another household.

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home. People 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women are more vulnerable than others, and so are advised to take particular care to avoid contact with others.

3 – Be considerate
Be sensitive to rural communities if considering travelling further from home to walk.  In many cases, the best option will be to stay local and explore the local area on foot.  Make sure you follow the Countryside Code (England and Wales) and Access Code (Scotland).

Notts Area Ramblers have been discussing the implications of the latest government advice with head office, but have to follow the Ramblers directive for now. Notts Area are developing a Risk Assessment form to apply to walks which looks quite useful.

The Peak District National Park Authority have published guidance for visitors to the area. They are asking people not to rush back to the Peak District, but also offering sensible advice to people who do venture there. See link at https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/learning-about/news/current-news/coronavirus-covid-19-update#faqs

OSW Committee members shared recent self organised walking experiences at the video meeting on 3rd June. It is very difficult deciding whether to walk in the Peak District National Park or not at the moment. Most people have decided to keep to local walks for now until infection rates reduce further and Peak District residents are less concerned about visitors. OSW group walks are currently cancelled up to the end of June.

Here is some additional advice if you are out walking in any area:

  • All Peak District car parks are open again, but not many public conveniences.
  • Some car parking ticket machines won’t accept money, only bank cards.
  • Avoid parking in villages where possible and use car parks away from residential areas.
  • Plan routes to avoid walking through farm buildings where possible, particularly if gates have to be opened and closed.
  • Use hand sanitiser before and after opening a gate or crossing a style.
  • Be aware of the risks of buying food or drinks on walks and handling money.
  • Don’t stroke dogs or cats on route, they may have been stroked by someone with the virus.

I look forward to when we can all enjoy walking in the countryside together again and hope it is soon.

Best wishes to you all.
Bob Ingram (Chair)