Visiting safely during the Covid-19 outbreak

Updated 5 November 2020

Following the government announcement of a four-week lockdown in England, from Thursday 5 November, we will be updating our guidance for visitors so please do keep checking this page for more information. However, please be assured that our green spaces will continue to be open and we recognise the importance of our spaces for mental and physical wellbeing.

You can sign up here to receive our newsletters with updated guidance on visiting our spaces, news from the farm and our activities and fundraising. Please do also  follow us on social media via the footer links.

What is the latest government guidance on accessing green spaces?

Exercise is important for people’s physical and mental well-being and the risk of coronavirus being passed on to others outdoors is considered to be very low as long as people maintain social distancing.

From 5 November  you can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).

To stay safe, you should:

  • Take hygiene precautions when you are outside
  • Wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors
  • Keep at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household or support bubble where possible, or at least one metre with precautions such as wearing a face mask
  • Take hand sanitiser with you in case there are no handwashing facilities

Read the latest government advice here.

Are Earth Trust green spaces open?

Yes. We recognise our green spaces continue to be popular spots for those wanting to make the most of time outdoors. Please make sure you’re staying safe and enabling others to do the same by following these guidelines:

  • Keep your distance – make sure there are at least 2m between you and other households at all times, as demonstrated by our CEO Jayne and Head of Fundraising Lee Ann in the video below!
  • Look out for each other – be aware that we may not have staff on site when you visit, and that emergency services may also be slower to respond at the moment if you need help. And of course, if you’re unwell, please stay at home.
  • Think about common areas where you might share contact, such as going over stiles. Gates should be left as they are found, but if you need to touch them remember to wash your hands as soon as you can afterwards (or use hand sanitiser), and avoid touching your face in the meantime.
  • Don’t stay if it’s busy. At peak times it’s harder to keep a safe space between families especially on narrower footpaths, so if it looks busy when you arrive, please come back another time or try one of our other places.

We will continue to monitor the latest government advice and make changes if necessary.

Am I allowed to drive to Earth Trust green spaces?

The latest guidelines for England state you can travel any distance to get to the countryside; we encourage visitors to walk/cycle to our spaces where possible. If you drive we ask that you park considerately – both to avoid local traffic issues and to allow for social distancing.

Can I walk my dog at Earth Trust green spaces?

Yes, but please keep dogs on leads and pick up after them, even in areas where livestock are not grazing. The government guidance states that you should walk your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep 2 metres away from others. You can find further government guidance for pet owners here and further guidance about visiting our spaces with dogs here

Can gates be left open so people don’t need to touch them?

Landowners have been encouraged to consider tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate; unfortunately this is not possible at many of Earth Trust’s green spaces as they are grazed by cattle or sheep. In line with the Countryside Code please leave gates as you find them, and then remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser as soon as possible after touching a gate or stile.

Why were Beard Construction still on site at the Earth Trust Centre during lockdown?

Visitors to the Earth Trust Farm and Wittenham Clumps may have noticed that our contractors, Beard, were still on site working on our new Earth Lab education centre and Innovation Hub. In line with the recommendations, we agreed that Beard had sufficient precautions in place to enable them to keep working during this period.

As per government advice, construction works continued. Beard introduced a number of additional measures to limit the risk of spreading Covid-19, including removal of any face-to-face meetings and restrictions on the number of contractors allowed on site at any one time.

All of this, coupled with the fact the Earth Trust site is in a remote, rural setting – very different to constructions sites based in highly populated urban environments – reduced the risk of spreading disease and allowed work to continue. Earth Trust and Beard are constantly monitoring the situation and will put the project on hold if any future government guidance recommends it, but Beard are happy to continue supporting a local business as the location provides a safe working environment.

Thank you for working with us to keep everyone safe.

 

Earth Trust contact details:

  • General enquiries: [email protected]
  • Earth Trust Friend enquiries: [email protected]
  • Volunteering enquiries: [email protected]
  • Events and activities: [email protected]
  • The best way to get in touch is via email but you can also phone the office on 01865 407792 and leave a message for someone to call you back; to report urgent issues involving livestock or directly relating to our green spaces please see the emergency phone numbers on the contacts page.

Photo by Gemma Warr

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