Covid-19 Update on our sites - how to visit us safely Updated 23 September 2020 In order to protect lives, we must all follow the latest government advice in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) www.gov.uk/coronavirus At all times, you should continue to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, particularly ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household. From Monday 14 September, no social gathering of more than 6 people is allowed to take place (unless from the same household) - please ensure you are abiding by this whilst visiting any of our sites. If you feel unwell, or anyone in your household has symptoms, we ask that you please do not attend any of our parks and follow the government advice to self-isolate. Rushmere Country Park - Coronavirus FAQs Is the park open? Yes it is - both the main entrance car park and the Stockgrove entrances are OPEN 9am-8pm (last entry 7pm)*. *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 is OPEN 9am-8pm* (last entry 7pm) as is the Stockgrove entrance where limited parking is available. 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. We have reduced the amount of cars allowed in to enable social distancing. 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. 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 now 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 latest government guidelines we ask that all visitors to our toilets wear a face mask (unless exempt) as this is a confined indoor space. Herons View Centre Toilets OPEN 9.00 – 7pm Stockgrove Entrance Toilets OPEN 9.00 – 5pm 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 Hatch are now offering a takeaway service with social distancing queuing in place: Rushmere Hatch OPEN 9am–4.30pm (close for 30 mins break) 5pm-6.30pm daily* Stockgrove cafe: OPEN weekdays 9am – 5pm / weekends 9am – 6pm (*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 latest 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 at the following times: - 9.30am - 6pm weekdays - 9am - 5.30pm Saturday - 9am - 7pm Sundays You can find out more about the park and buy permits for parking, cycling and horse riding (you can do this online also!) Times may vary depending on staff availability. Are the play areas open? The toddler play area is now OPEN. The large slide and swing will remain CLOSED - please do not try to enter closed play areas and please keep children away from the play equipment. 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 still hire a wheelchair? Unfortunately our wheelchair hire service is not possible while the Visitor Centre remains closed. Will any events and activities be running? Sorry NO - all events and activities in the park have been cancelled until the end of August at the earliest. Rushmereparkrun has been cancelled in line with all UK parkrun events. Will there be a staff presence in the park? YES - we are retaining a Duty Ranger presence 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. 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. What about my Greensand parking pass? You can re-new or purchase a Greensand parking pass online. What about cycling at the park? Free access trails into the park (BLUE on the park map) lead you to the visitor centre only. 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 currently OPEN for use with a Greensand Pass available online as an annual or daily option. . 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, horse box parking is available in the horse box area at the rear of the main car park - 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. Can I volunteer? Sorry - we are not seeking to recruit new volunteers at present. Donations most welcome! We need your help now more than ever before! We run Rushmere Country Park on a not for profit basis but with all income halted for two months and with little opportunity of fundraising all summer and in the coming months, we need your donations to help us run this wonderful leisure facility which was there, for local visitors at least, throughout lockdown. If you have been walking your dog or using the park for exercise throughout this difficult time please consider supporting us! 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? No it is currently CLOSED - landowner Bedford Estates has begun essential forestry works resulting in the closure of the Longslade Lane car park and also cross country Longslade Trail (jump area remains unaffected) - for more information see here. What about Cycling at Aspley? The Longslade Trail is now CLOSED (see link above) but the Jump Area remains OPEN for use with a Greensand Cycle Pass available online as an annual or daily option. Is horse riding available? Horse riding trails remain OPEN regardless of the forestry works but may be subject to the occasional closure in places when large vehicles are in use. Horse riders using the trails are required to purchase a Greensand Horse Pass. However, the forestry works mean there is no provision for horse box parking at present. 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.