Visiting the Peak District during Covid-19 - your easy guide
Tuesday 17 March 2020
Last updated: 6 July 2020 (8.20am)
National Park Authority operations during COVID-19 restrictions
The National Park Authority is currently operating as normal, but with the majority of its administrative functions taking place remotely and through home working by its staff. Specific information on visitor facilities, access and planning & development can be found in the sections below. You may continue to contact the National Park on 01629 816200 or on email@example.com.
Due to the high volume of queries and staff capacity, response times may be slightly longer than usual. National Park HQ at Aldern House is currently closed to the public, and all meetings have been postponed or will be taking place via virtual portals or teleconference.
National Park access during COVID-19 government restrictions
As a Category V National Park with multiple public highways and rights of way within our boundary, we remain open to access. Social distancing measures continue to apply - please observe these at all times for the safety of communities, businesses and staff from agencies working in the National Park.
Opening times for our visitor centres have changed. Please note centres may also close at short notice if necessary.
- Castleton Visitor Centre from Wednesday 8 July: 10am - 3.30pm. Wednesday to Sundays (closed Monday and Tuesday)
- Bakewell Visitor Centre from Monday 6 July: 10.30am - 4pm Friday to Tuesdays (closed Wednesday and Thursday)
- Upper Derwent Valley (Fairholmes) Visitor Centre from Wednesday 8 July: 10am - 3:30pm Friday to Tuesdays (closed Wednesday and Thursday)
- Our Edale Visitor Centre remains closed at this time. This does not affect the Fieldhead Campsite at Edale.
Additional safety measures are in place including maximum capacities and social distancing. Please wait at the door to be invited in by a member of the team. Do be patient and service may be a little slower than usual whilst we look after your safety and that of our colleagues.
Derwent, Parsley Hay and Ashbourne are now open for ex-hire bike sales. Hires start Wednesday 8 July and can be booked in advance online or by calling the centre you wish to hire from. Bookings must be made 48 hours in advance for Derwent and 24 hours in advance for Parsley Hay and Ashbourne. Our bike hire centres will be by pre-booking only and casual hires or ‘walk-ins’ will not be available due to Covid-19 safety.
Centres are open Wednesday to Sunday 9.30am to 5.00pm (bikes must be back by 4.45).
There is no provision for rescues or first aid when bikes are out on hire, therefore cyclists are advised to ride within their abilities and take responsibility for themselves, please do not put pressure on National Park staff and medical professionals.
Our Manifold Bike Hire facilities remain closed at this time.
North Lees Campsite
The campsite re-opens on Saturday 4 July, but will operate at a reduced capacity, to support increased cleaning and Covid-19 safety measures. The site is fully-booked for July 2020. Please do not travel to the site if you have not made a booking.
All of our own public toilet facilities will re-open on 4 July 2020.
Hand-washing opportunities in the National Park are extremely limited. We recommend that you bring an appropriate hand sanitiser and clean your hands at the start and end of your visit as well as following contact with surfaces. Around half of our pay and display car parks have the option for contactless card payments where technology and location allows.
Public Rights of Way and signage: At the current time, we ask that those with rights of way on their land do not voluntarily close these routes until further UK guidance is received – any decision on access changes would not be at the discretion of the National Park Authority.
No barbeques or naked flames: BBQs, open fires or naked flames are not permitted anywhere in the open countryside in the Peak District National Park.
National Park Rangers - our role and responsibilities
During the current Covid-19 measures, national park rangers are focusing on a limited number of key activities:
- Undertaking routine safety inspections on our properties such as tunnels on our all-access routes, maintaining rights of way infrastructure and car parks.
- Installing and replacing signage including Covid-19 advice.
- Patrolling our 45 car parks and key ‘honeypot’ visitor sites, and providing updates to our car park alerts system.
- Supporting observations for wild fire, and assisting other agencies when incidents take place.
- Working with partners such as the National Trust and water companies as visitor facilities gradually begin to re-open.
Due to the current social distancing guidance, our rangers are not patrolling in teams.
Tasks that are not part of our role:
- Enforcing social distancing: This remains a matter for the police, and our rangers will speak with officers where we observe large or obvious breaches of the rules.
- Highways and traffic control: Issues concerning vehicle speed, illegal parking and road blockages also remain a police matter. Penalty charge notices and fines are issued by local authorities and not national park rangers.
- Fly-tipping and litter: Although the national park authority does service a small number of public bins in our car parks and other properties, major incidents or those on private land would not be a role for our teams. Where cases are reported to us directly, we will pass the information on to the relevant organisation.
- Wildlife crime: our rangers do not have any powers in respect of the monitoring or enforcement of activities such as the species control traps or snares. Legislation for these activities is set at a national level.
- Anti-social behaviour: our rangers will always seek to engage constructively with those who choose not to respect the national park, however we do not expect our teams to put themselves at risk at any time or be subjected to violence or verbal abuse.
- Public toilets: these facilities are serviced by external contractors or separate teams and are not a matter for rangers. At present, the majority of public toilet provision in the Peak District is closed due to Covid-19 safety concerns.
Q: What about events?
The events programme offered by the National Park Authority has been significantly affected by Covid-19 restrictions. This includes cancellations or postponements to; guided walks, nature tots and public ‘drop-in’ events.
If you have registered to attend an event, you will also be contacted directly and refunds will be processed where payment has already been taken.
If the event you are due to attend is not run by the National Park Authority, please contact the event organiser directly.
Q: I am a regular volunteer, what should I do?
Registered volunteers will be contacted directly through our volunteers database. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for your continued dedication and contribution to the Peak District National Park, and look forward to welcoming you back when it is appropriate for us to do so.
Q: Is National Park HQ still open?
As of Monday 23 March, our Aldern House HQ will be closed to the public. Vehicles (including deliveries) will only be able to access the building through the northern entrance gate via the electronic barrier. Staff and business tenants will be able to access the office via their pass. If you have a meeting scheduled at the office, please contact the relevant staff member, or 01629 816200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What about public meetings and committees?
Upcoming committees are expected to be cancelled or postponed until further notice.
Q: What about planning applications?
The Development Management service is reacting to the current situation regarding the Covid-19 virus. New planning applications are currently being registered and allocated to officers. However, due to reduced staffing numbers and remote working, there is a significant delay throughout the application process.
Site visits and meetings are not being carried out. Consultation on planning applications will continue. If you have been consulted on an application, or wish to comment and require an extension of time to respond, please contact the case officer. We are providing the service as far as we are able to while ensuring we comply with Government guidance for safeguarding of our staff and customers.
The consultation processes for applications have changed. Local newspapers are not being published and therefore we are unable to post Notices in the press. Where an application requires a yellow site notice, these are being displayed at the development site. You can view the weekly list of planning applications received by the Authority.
If you have made a report of potentially unauthorised development to us, there will be delays in investigating and responding to these reports.
Although the current situation is unprecedented, no development should take place without the necessary permissions in place.
Community Support / Information
The following online support/initiatives may provide assistance:
- Let's Go Peak District – local businesses offering additional or alternative community services
- Visit Peak District - visitors - information for tourists and visitors
- Visit Peak District - businesses - tourism business sector guidance
- Derbyshire County Council - support fund information
- Derbyshire County Council - business advice
- Derbyshire County Council - business hardship fund
- Derbyshire County Council - community response unit
- Safer Derbyshire - domestic abuse support line
- High Peak CVS - High Peak Community and Voluntary Support directory
- High Peak Borough Council - Coronavirus information hub
As a National Park team, we are in contact with our colleagues at local authorities and other agencies, and remain ready to offer our support and resources. To ensure this is most effective, we will be coordinating any activity in partnership with relevant response teams from these organisations.