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Parks and open spaces

COVID-19 guidance - Parks & Open Spaces

Our parks and open spaces remain open for public use, as a means of exercise and to support mental wellbeing. However, we must ask that you follow the Government rules to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that we can continue to keep these areas open.

Government guidelines state:

  • You can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation with your household or in groups of up to six people from outside your household
  • Strict social distancing guidelines must still be followed if spending time outdoors with people from outside your household

If using parks & open spaces, you must also follow this guidance:

  • Do not visit a park if you or any member of your household have any symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Follow NHS guidelines if you do develop any of these symptoms or become unwell
  • If the park looks crowded, do not enter if you cannot safely observe social distancing. You could try visiting the park at different times (earlier/later) and try to use all areas of the park that remain open, so you can maintain an appropriate distance from others
  • Where possible, avoid touching surfaces (such as gates, hand-rails or seating) and your mouth and face. Please follow hand washing advice from Public Health England, including washing your hands as soon as you get home

Play areas & green gyms

Children’s play areas & green gyms across the borough are open.

Signage has been placed on playgrounds giving guidance and advice regarding their safe use. Users will be asked to follow Public Health England guidance concerning washing hands and maintaining social distancing on and around the facilities.

Sports facilities 

The following council sports facilities within our parks and open spaces are open for use in line with the government guidelines which can be found here.

  • Tennis / Netball courts (excluding those at The Pingles Leisure Centre, which remain closed at this time)
  • Pingles Running Track – bookings only, please visit
  • Basketball courts (within Multi-Use Games Areas)
  • Golf, Foot Golf and Disc Golf courses

Please note that there is currently no equipment provision and users will need to bring their own. We will be providing more details on the reopening of the Leisure facilities soon.


Despite previous press releases, social media, additional resource to litter pick/cleanse and requests for users to think about where they leave their litter when visiting our parks, the battle continues for the Council and its partners to have to clean up afterwards.

With the schools now formally finished for the summer holidays and our play areas back open, we are trying to keep the areas clean, litter and glass free to protect users, but we are still experiencing ongoing problems.

Your help and support is needed to protect our PARKS, ENVIRONMENT and WILDLIFE more than ever.

If a bin is full people should take their rubbish home with them and dispose of or recycle it appropriately. New signage will begin to be installed in prominent places across the Borough to help support the on-going campaign of keeping our parks and green spaces clean and tidy for all.

The risks from Coronavirus remain and guidance on social distancing is still that where possible you should keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible) and wash your hands regularly.

Water Safety

We have recently seen incidents of the public swimming dangerously in outdoor lakes and pools, anti-social behaviour and flouting of the social distancing rules.

Please do not swim in unauthorised bodies of water such as rivers, pools and lakes. As well as the risk of drowning, this behaviour could put you at risk of diseases, underwater obstructions and the water can be dangerously cold putting you at risk of thermal shock. There is also a risk to others who can lose their lives in attempting a rescue. 

  • People regularly get into difficulties and even experienced swimmers can find themselves quickly getting into trouble
  • The water is usually much colder than people expect – particularly if people move away from the shore or enter deep water
  • There are hidden currents, unexpected obstacles and weeds under the water which people get caught up in and cramp can quickly set in
  • The water is also often unclean and carries a risk of catching waterborne diseases
  • Many of our lakes are also used for fishing, which means there could be fishing line in and around the water

Children and teenagers in particular, who do not realise the dangers, are attracted to such activities. Therefore, we are asking parents to talk to their children to highlight the dangers. Read full press release with guidance here

Last updated Friday, 11th September 2020

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