How we are responding to Covid-19

The health and wellbeing of the public, volunteers and staff are of utmost importance to The Wildlife Trusts, and we have therefore been keeping a close eye on government advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

12 May 2020: Response to latest Government advice (further updated 15 May)

Following the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday, we urge visitors to our nature reserves to continue to follow social distancing guidelines to help control the spread of Covid-19.

The majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access and we are delighted that support from our members enables us to offer this.

Please be aware that due to recent quieter conditions, birds will be nesting in places more prone to disturbance than usual and so will be at risk. To ensure nature is still there for us in the future as well as right now, please keep dogs under close control, follow our reserve access guidelines and we respectfully ask that you don't visit a reserve if it is not possible to practise social distancing there without going off the paths.

Thank you for your patience as we all adjust to this new 'norm', this is new for everyone. Thanks to our supportive Trustees, committed staff and all of our members and donors, we have been able to adapt our way of working and carry on with our most vital activities. However, we have a reduced work force at present and many of our volunteers are likely to need to continue to self-isolate for some months to come, so our capacity to monitor sites and manage facilities is limited.

We do expect increased visitor numbers at many sites now though and so we may need to close areas off quickly if we think there is an unmanageable risk to safety or wildlife. Our car parks will remain closed until we are confident we can open them safely and without detriment to wildlife. 

Please do check the website reserve pages for the latest information before planning a visit. As always, on any visit to our nature reserves, please be mindful of the wildlife that lives there and of other visitors.

Nature continues to bring many of us solace in these difficult times, so do continue to take time out of your day to enjoy the wild places around you, whether that be in your garden, local park or nature reserve. Take a look at some of our ideas for enjoying nature and register for our annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, for inspiration and encouragement throughout the month of June!

We are continuing to add new resources, information and activities to our website and social media channels everyday and have been delighted by the response to these. We are also working to find alternative ways to safely deliver our popular wildlife events when this is allowed, as we know many people are missing these. All scheduled events until the end of July will be cancelled and we will keep reviewing the situation.

The Wildlife Trusts are, like others, dealing with the unprecedented challenges caused by coronavirus and nature conservation is suffering during these challenging times. Please consider supporting your local Wildlife Trust’s vital work by making a donation or becoming a member – and a huge thank you to those of you that already support us in this way.

3 April 2020: Government advise following the Countryside Code

With good weather predicted this weekend, we've lots of great activities to do in your garden enabling you to stay safe whilst enjoying the sunshine. Stay local and share your garden sightings with us on social media using #wildlifefromhome.

Things to do this weekend

Whilst we would advise people to avoid popular footpaths during the warm weather, for those accessing public rights of way as part of their permitted daily exercise, the Government has urged that the Countryside Code is adhered to. In addition, they advise that:

  • You maintain a distance of at least two metres from other people
  • Hand wash/sanitise after touching any shared surfaces e.g. sites/gates
  • Keep dogs on a lead around livestock and away from other people/dogs
  • Leave gates as you find them.

The Government also stresses that the risk of Coronavirus being passed on to people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low, as long as people follow instructions around social distancing. 

Please see the updates below for the Wildlife Trust BCN's full response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

31 March 2020: Adapting to new work restrictions

Over the last week we have been adapting to the new restrictions, with staff members taking to their desks at home to focus on computer work such as management plans and online educational resources. As per Government advice, our staff are only leaving their homes for urgent health and safety work or to attend to essential animal welfare, such as assisting with lambing. Being stuck at home is particularly difficult for a team used to working in the great outdoors, but we know we need to do our bit. 

Stay home - Government advice is clear, you should not drive to a reserve.

If you are able to walk to one of our reserves for your daily exercise and do not find it busy, please do take photos as you go and share them on social media for those who can't enjoy a visit at this time. 

We realise there may be more local people visiting than usual and we know this can be frustrating for our regular visitors. We remind all to follow Government advice on social distancing and we communicate this through our many communications channels, but we have over 100 reserves and we are unable to monitor sites or to judge how well advice is being followed. The best way to minimise risk is to connect with nature at home.

We encourage visitors who do choose to walk to a reserve to be generous with others who may be connecting with nature in a different way.

There is no definitive description of what constitutes daily exercise and so many people will use it to connect with nature in a different way. Whether jogging, walking the dog, taking a leisurely photography or nature-spotting walk or undertaking a short family adventure - if you do choose to visit a reserve, please be generous in sharing the space and understanding of the fact that many people need nature right now. The best way to avoid other people is to connect with nature at home.

We are saddened by the current situation and to know that many will greatly miss visiting our reserves during this challenging period. We truly hope it will be safe for us to welcome you back soon.

As stated before, we will close reserves where we believe there is a serious cause for concern and will advise of this on our website.

Let us help you find wildlife from home.

If you are not near a reserve, are vulnerable and want to limit the risk of exposure or simply want to leave it for others who might need the solace more, explore our webpages which we are filling with ideas of how to enjoy nature from home. We promise lots of interesting facts you might otherwise not have come across!

We will also be sending our eNews updates, filled with information about local nature and ways to connect with it, weekly over this period.

Sign up for eNews

24 March 2020: Nature reserve access

In light of yesterday's announcement from the Government, we have taken the hard decision to close car parks to our nature reserves wherever we can.

However, the majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access. If you intend on visiting any of our nature reserves in order to take your one-form of exercise a day (e.g. running, walking), please follow Government guidance and only visit those you can reach by foot and abide by the advice on social distancing, which can be found here

Reserve Access Guidelines   Reserve Search

Reserve Access Guidelines

It is now more important than ever that we all follow our reserve access guidelines, including additional requirements in line with Government advice.

Read Guidelines

credit Chris Rutter

17/3/20 Event Cancellations

In light of last night’s Government update and guidance on COVID 19, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel all events for the next 12 weeks, until 13th June. We will also close our Nene Wetlands visitor centre at Rushden Lakes with immediate effect until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but ask for your understanding in this decision. If you were booked for an event we will be in contact and will be happy to give refunds for any events already booked. This has been a difficult decision as we know connecting with nature plays an important role in uncertain and stressful times such as these.

For anyone feeling healthy we encourage you to take a walk if you can, you are welcome on our nature reserves – please remember to practise social distancing and to respect the space of others. As this is a rapidly changing situation, please check for any changes in guidance before doing so. If you are self-isolating, do look for signs of spring in your garden - and do join our social media channels (listed below). We will be posting lots of content over the coming months to remind us all that spring continues to emerge and to keep our spirits up.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update as we receive any new information or guidance. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us cambridgeshire@wildlifebcn.org Thank you for your support.

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