Country parks in Dorset re-open

Country parks in Dorset re-open

Published by Maria Greenwood at 10:56am 26th May 2020.

Four country parks managed by Dorset Council have reopened today.

Thorncombe Woods, Moors Valley, Avon Heath and Durlston were all closed in March due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The country parks closed in March due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Following the easing of lockdown by central government, the council has made some adjustments to the running of the parks so people can enjoy the open air and countryside whilst protecting their health during the current pandemic.

Councillor Peter Wharf, Deputy Leader, Dorset Council, said: 

"We understand that people are keen to get outdoors, so our country park teams and our partners Forestry England at Moors Valley, have worked hard to put in measures to help visitors enjoy the parks whilst protecting their health during the current pandemic."

moors valley
Moors Valley

'Safety Measures'

The range of measures for visitors' safety include 2 metre distancing signs and provision of hand sanitiser

Rangers will be on hand to help people enjoy their visit and manage any queues.

Councillor Wharf continued: 

"As you can appreciate, we've had to make a number of changes to the way our country parks are operated so they can be reopened. 

"This is a new experience for us all, and the teams on site will do their best to make sure everyone has an enjoyable time. 

"The range of measures means there may be queues for facilities, including parking and toilets. Please be patient and understanding and respect others."

picnic bench

'Some facilities will stay closed'

For the continued safety of visitors and employees, play areas, cafes, visitor centres and cycle hire will not re-open on Tuesday. 

However, this will be monitored and, if possible, takeway facilities will be made available later in the week. 

Picnic benches are available at the parks and have been placed at a safe distance from each other so families can make the most of the outdoors. 


Usual car parking charges will apply at all the parks, with contactless payment wherever possible. 

The car park machines will be disinfected hourly and hand sanitiser will be available at all machines.