Covid-19 Update on our sites - how to visit us safely Updated 18 May 2021 To protect lives, we must all follow the latest government advice in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are following the latest government guidance. From 17 May you can meet outside with up to 30 people and indoors with either a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible). Gathering limits have been eased. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible). New guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family. Access to the park We where possible control the number of vehicles entering the park and once capacity is reached the in barrier will no longer allow any further vehicles to enter for some time - if the FULL sign displays or the entrance is closed, please drive on and try again another time as waiting at the entrance is not permitted as it creates a significant hazard. Please do not park in the village or surrounding areas as this may prevent emergency vehicle access and causes nuisance to our neighbours. While we can control the number of vehicles that enter the park, there are a number of entry points accessible by walkers, cyclists and horse riders which we cannot monitor. We therefore advise visitors to be vigilant of your surroundings, follow signage and maintain as much distance as possible from others and visitors must therefore be responsible, please follow all guidance for your safety and others and recognise that access is at your own risk. If you feel unwell, or anyone in your household has symptoms, you must stay at home and follow the government advice to self-isolate. Rushmere Country Park - Coronavirus FAQs Is the park open? Are the car parks open? How do I pay for parking? How do I re-new my Greensand Pass? What about safe social distancing? Are the toilets open? Are the cafes open? Is the Visitor Centre open? What about cycling in the park? Is horse riding available? Are the play areas open? Can I have a BBQ? Can I hire a wheelchair? Are any events and activities running? Is there a staff presence in the park? Can I volunteer? Aspley Woods - Coronavirus FAQs Is the car park open? What about cycling at Aspley Woods? Is horse riding available? We need your Donations now more than ever! We need your help now more than ever before! We have been here for local people to visit throughout lockdown enabling them to enjoy nature for the benefit of their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as dog walking, cycling and horse riding, or just meeting up with friends and family in a safe outdoor space. We run Rushmere Country Park on a not for profit basis but with all income halted for the first two months of lockdown and with little opportunity of fundraising throughout the year, we need your donations to help us run this wonderful leisure facility. If you've found our park a helpful haven throughout lockdown, been walking your dog or using the park for exercise throughout this difficult time: Please consider Supporting Us! Is the park open? Yes it is - both the main entrance car park and the Stockgrove entrances are OPEN 9am-8pm. *The site may close early on occasions where access exceeds risk assessments such as extreme weather. Visitor centres and play areas at both entrances remain CLOSED. The Park has a number of access points, as well as many public rights of way including the Greensand Ridge Walk, and is therefore open for responsible users on foot or bicycle outside the car park opening hours, and we urge in the strongest terms the need to strictly follow the latest Government advice on Social Distancing. Are the car parks open? The main entrance car park in Linslade Road and the Stockgrove entrance (limited parking is available) are OPEN 9am-8pm. We urge all our visitors to act responsibly and not to park on the roads around the park, causing nuisance to our neighbours and the people of Heath and Reach. The main car park has provision for horse box parking weekdays only. We also have disabled parking for Blue Badge Holders but the £3 parking fee still applies. How do I pay for parking? Parking costs £3 for the whole day payable on exit. Main entrance car park: Pay on exit using bank card (contactless or chip & pin), Greensand Parking Pass or coins (no change given) as we are not able to sell tokens at present. Stockgrove car park: pay on exit with coins (no change given) or Greensand parking pass ONLY. If you're a regular visitor to the park, buying an annual Greensand Parking Pass will save you money - and if you choose the Gift Aid option you can support the work we do even more! The annual Greensand Parking Pass is available for £60 for a whole year’s parking or you can support our sites by choosing the donate and Gift Aid option for just £66 - just £5 per month (or £1.15per week). How do I re-new my Greensand parking pass? You can re-new or purchase a Greensand parking pass online. What about safe social distancing? Footpaths: Please keep to one side so others may pass at a safe distance. If needed at narrower parts of our paths, please step aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance. Dog walking: We strongly urge you to keep dogs on a lead to conform with social distancing guidelines - most importantly when other park users are present. Hygiene: Wash your hands before and after your visit. Cyclists: Maintain a reduced speed in the Park and a two metre distance from pedestrians at all times. Entry cycle access points into the park are free to use but use of the Ridge Riders Cross Country route and Jump Area requires the purchase of a Greensand Cycle Pass. Are the toilets open? Yes, toilets at both entrances are OPEN with social distancing in place to queue safely and increased cleaning and maintenance which will lead to more frequent closure as this takes place. In line with government guidelines we ask that all visitors to our toilets wear a face mask (unless exempt) as this is a confined indoor space. Toilet Facilities at both the main entrance and Stockgrove are open 10am – 5pm. The opening times may vary beyond these times subject to staffing or on-site activities. Please note: The toilet facilities can be closed at regular intervals for Covid Cleaning, please bear with us when this happens, our staff will be working hard to re-open as quickly as possible. It is still essential that you follow the guidance given to keep yourself and others safe: Avoid using the public toilet where possible. These facilities are cleaned/inspected throughout the day - the toilets will be closed during cleaning. You must maintain a safe distance of 2 metres from others when entering, waiting or leaving public toilets. If on entry you are unable to maintain social distancing, please wait in the designated queuing area, keeping 2 metres apart from others and avoid blocking the entrance. Some cubicles may be closed for your safety - do not use. All toilets may be closed without notice for safety reasons. Avoid touching surfaces where possible - do not touch your face. Before leaving the facility WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. Dispose of paper towels in the bins provided. Please use and leave the facility as quickly as possible. Use hand sanitiser/wash your hands again when you get home. Please respect our staff. Are the cafes open? The Tree Tops Cafe remains CLOSED. However, both the Rushmere Hatch and Stockgrove Cafe are offering a takeaway service with social distancing queuing in place: Rushmere Hatch OPEN 9am–5pm* Stockgrove cafe: OPEN 9am – 5pm (*Opening times are subject to stock and staff availability which may at times require us to close outside the scheduled opening times) In line with government guidelines we ask that all visitors to our takeaway facilities wear a face mask - unless you are exempt. Is the Visitor Centre open? No, for the safety of staff and visitors, we have CLOSED both Visitor Centres, including the outside Deck. While the Herons View Visitor Centre and Tree Tops Cafe remain CLOSED we do have visitor information available from the front of the building 9am - 5pm daily. Free access trails into the park (BLUE on the park map) lead you to the visitor centre only. You can find out more about the park and pick up our leaflets but we are no longer carrying out financial transactions -all passes must be bought online. Times may vary depending on staff availability. What about cycling at the park? The Ridge Riders Cross Country Trail (ORANGE on the park map) is OPEN for use with a Greensand Cycle Pass available online as an annual or daily option. The Ridge Riders Jump Area is now OPEN as of 1 April. The Pump Track is OPEN, ideal for younger riders - no Greensand Pass required. Please note our Ridge Riders Cross Country trail and Jump Area are aimed at more experienced mountain bikers and are not suitable for younger inexperienced riders. Is horse riding available? Yes, the horse box parking area is currently OPEN weekdays only. Horse riders using the trails are required to purchase a Greensand Horseriding Pass. With visitor levels currently so high we are sorry we cannot provide horse box parking at weekends. Are the play areas open? The toddler play area is now OPEN. The large slide and swing have been removed. Can I have a BBQ? No, we're not allowing this at present. Picnics are allowed in small gatherings but please take all your litter home as we have limited staff and no volunteering at present and need to protect our wildlife. Can I hire a wheelchair? Unfortunately our wheelchair hire service is not possible while the Visitor Centre remains closed. Are any events and activities running? Sorry NO - all events and activities in the park have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Rushmereparkrun has been cancelled in line with all UK parkrun events. Is there a staff presence in the park? YES - our Ranger team and visitor services staff are on duty (see above) as well as catering staff in the Hatch. If you have an emergency in the Park, contact the Ranger on duty on 07817 205870 (please note this is not a 24/7 service) or call the police on 101. You can call our office during opening hours on 01525 234260 although we cannot guarantee there will be someone there to answer at all times. For general enquiries or any other queries please email: [email protected] where Trust staff will respond as quickly as is practicable - please note the inbox is not monitored 24/7. Can I volunteer? Sorry - we are not seeking to recruit new volunteers at present. You can find out more About Rushmere here. We will continue to follow latest government advice and will update our statements and website as soon as we know more. In the meantime, please keep safe. Aspley Woods - FAQS Is the car park open? Yes the Longslade Lane car park is now OPEN 7am - 8pm with provision for horse box parking subject to space being available. We do not manage this car park - please address any issue to Bedford Estates. What about Cycling at Aspley? The downhill jump area is OPEN as of 1 April. The cross country Longslade Trail is OPEN - both require a Greensand Cycle Pass available online as an annual or daily option. Is horse riding available? Horse riding trails remain OPEN. Horse riders using the trails are required to purchase a Greensand Horse Pass. You can find out more about Aspley Woods here. The Working Woodlands Centre is CLOSED All our learning and education programmes and volunteer activities have been cancelled. No permission will be granted for filming and photography shoots at our sites. No organised group visits will be permitted.