From 13th May 2020, the Government moved away from the ‘Stay at Home’ message to ‘Stay alert – Control the virus – Save lives’. The COVID-19 outbreak is still very much with us but with this change of messaging comes new guidelines on spending time outdoors – a slight easing of restrictions as long as you are able to keep social distancing.

You can find full details of what you are able to do in this new phase of the lockdown on the Government website. Further clarification from the government to Frequently Asked Questions are also available. Currently, NO OVERNIGHT STAYS away from your main home are permitted. This includes all camping and staying in second homes.

Coronavirus in Dorset

In Dorset, we have been fortunate to have had a lower incidence of coronavirus compared to many other parts of the country. However, with a relatively elderly population in some parts, local communities are very aware of the devastating impact the virus can have and are still taking the lockdown restrictions very seriously.

Dorset Council are urging people to think twice about visiting the county and to continue to enjoy the outdoors in your local area instead. If you do decide to travel to the Dorset AONB please be respectful of our local communities and the local services that they so rely on.

Please don’t assume that you will be able to park and enjoy your visit like you ‘normally’ would be able to. Currently some coastal and countryside car parks are still closed. Some public toilets are open but most food outlets remain closed. Please check what is available before you travel.

If visiting the coast, please also be aware LIFEGUARDS ARE NOT IN OPERATION on the beaches, so it is important that you take extra care.Take particular care with social distancing on narrow footpaths, toilets and car parks. Don’t forget hand sanitiser as hand washing facilities may not be available.

We look forward to giving you a proper welcome back to Dorset when the dangers of the outbreak have passed!

Countryside Code

Natural England have updated the Countryside Code for how to use outdoor spaces respectfully and safely during these challenging times. The Code urges you to ease respect other people and protect the natural environment by:

  • leaving no trace of your visit and taking all of your litter home
  • not using barbecues as they risk causing wildfires
  • keeping dogs under effective control and on a lead when you are around farm animals
  • leaving gates as you find them and following instructions on signs
  • keeping to footpaths and following signs where they suggest alternative routes

Wildlife may have moved into areas where it hasn’t previously been found, including nesting birds. Land managers may have taken action to provide extra protection of wildlife. Be vigilant and comply with these protective measures to ensure you do not disrupt the local wildlife.

The Dorset AONB Team

The Dorset AONB Team continues to work from home and is conducting all meetings remotely. All volunteer activities, events and face-to-face project activity have been postponed to safeguard participants, event leaders and our team. If you would like to get in touch with any of the Dorset AONB Team, our email and phone details remain the same but we can no longer receive post.

We are really looking forward to the time when we can run our activities with you again but will make sure we resume only when it is safe to do so. Until then please take care and stay safe.

The Dorset AONB Team