People are being reminded to exercise locally after a popular Saddleworth beauty spot has seen a surge in visitors.
Dove Stone Reservoir in Greenfield, on the edge of the Peak District National Park, has seen "an extremely high" number of visitors since the start of national lockdown earlier this week.
Many are thought to have travelled long distances, despite government guidelines ruling that people should not travel outside their local area to exercise.
The car park, which contains only 150 parking spots, is being kept open for the time being by landowners United Utilities.
But the site is still seeing motorists parking illegally, causing congestion and potential accidents.
In response, RSPB Dove Stone issued a statement which reads: “We strongly encourage people to use alternative local walks. In line with government guidance, landowners will keep the car park at Dove Stone open to allow for local, essential, and daily exercise only.”
Dove Stone has been seeing extremely high numbers of visitors. We strongly encourage you to use alternative local walks. In line with Government guidance, landowners @unitedutilities will keep the car park at Dove Stone open to allow for local, essential, daily exercise only.1/2 pic.twitter.com/bI6Uft0SQ7— RSPB Dove Stone (@RSPBDoveStone) January 6, 2021
The RSPB also underlined other rules for the reservoir, including no swimming, no fires or barbecues and all rubbish taken home.
This is not the first time that the site has seen busy crowds during the pandemic. In June last year, 13,000 drivers flocked to the green space in just three days, leading to fines being issued for illegal parking.
For those thinking about travelling for exercise, official government guidance is as follows:
· exercise should be limited to once per day, within your local area
· exercise in a public outdoor place must be undertaken alone; or with the people you live with; with your support bubble; when providing childcare; or when on your own with one person from another household
· if you or someone in your care has a health condition that requires you to leave home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area or exercising several times a day – then you can do so
· Two-metre social distancing should always be in place with anyone not from your household, even outdoors.
The busy car park at Dove Stone Reservoir. Credit: RSPB Dove Stone.