Families will once again be able to have fun in Nottinghamshire’s great outdoors as we prepare to reopen our 250 acres to the general public from Saturday 4th July.
Like all non-essential businesses, Walesby Forest was forced to close when COVID-19 put the UK into lockdown in late March. Since that time, we have been unable to welcome visitors, host outdoor activities and camping experiences or welcome school and scout groups.
But with non-essential stores reopening in June, followed by the latest government announcement that camping and outdoor centres can welcome people back in July, we’re delighted to be able to announce that we will be opening our doors to the general public once again with a number of new precautions and measures in place to ensure public safety.
To begin with, only families will be able to visit and stay. Facilities will be open but with strict social distancing measures in place in locations such as the on-site shop, bar and activity hubs. Visitors will be asked to book a time slot on a first-come, first-served basis for activities with contactless payment encouraged to reduce risk.
As our Chief Executive Officer Guy Laurie explains, the site has a number of benefits that make it a safe environment for the public.
“The government and Public Health England have stressed that the chance of contracting the virus is significantly lower in outdoor spaces – so the risk is greatly reduced. We have over 250 acres of land at Walesby so for families wanting to get outdoors, take part in activities, stay for the night and generally have a break from their homes for a while, it really is a safe place to be,”
Activities will be monitored and our team will be equipped with all the necessary tools to provide a safe environment for groups, as Guy explains.
“Activities will only be carried out within family groups – but this will add a nice personal touch to the experience. Where multiple activities are booked for a family, we’re grouping them together so that they only need to use one set of equipment throughout their visit – again helping to reduce the risk of transmission. We’re still offering the chance to take part in many of our usual activities including climbing, archery, kayaking, laser quest, orienteering and much more – so there’s plenty for people to do on-site,”
For those visiting and staying, we’re opening up our self-catering lodges and providing ample space for socially distanced camping and caravanning on a first-come, first-served basis. Takeaway food will be served on-site and heightened hygiene and distancing procedures will ensure that the risk to the public is greatly reduced.
“All of our COVID trained staff will be equipped with face masks and gloves, with public spaces, accommodation, equipment and surfaces cleaned regularly to maintain safety. Visitors can wear gloves and masks if they so wish, but this is not essential,” says Guy.
“We’ve taken the decision not to take deposits for bookings – we only ask for payments to be made in full 24 hours prior to visiting. This adds some flexibility in case circumstances change or families suddenly contract the virus. Of course, if households do have any symptoms of coronavirus then we would kindly ask them not to visit and cancel any bookings with us until such a time where it is safe for them to rebook,”
For Guy and the team, giving people a sense of normality again is important and he hopes that despite the new measures in place, families can enjoy quality time together outside of their own home.
“Above all, we want people to be able to book with confidence and look forward to a few hours or a night under the stars, soaking up Nottinghamshire’s great outdoors in a safe and secure environment. Large family groups now have a great chance to enjoy a change of scenery and make the most of the space and time to catch up and have fun. We’re very excited to see people back onsite from the 4th July,”
For more details on activities and how to book, visit www.walesbyforest.co.uk.