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Outdoor Recreation Bodies Statement

23 Mar 2020

A group of 35 national outdoor recreation bodies have released a joint statement backing the Government advice and urging the public to stay local if choosing to exercise in the outdoors during the Coronavirus pandemic.


A group of 35 leading national outdoor activity, tourism, nature, health and rescue organisations, has come together to back the Prime Minister’s call for the public to behave responsibly while exercising outside. In a joint statement, the group offers support to the Government and advises the nation on how to stay active safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The group has issued the following statement to help the public exercise safely outside:“In this time of national crisis, when almost all forms of indoor entertainment and social gatherings are severely restricted, a balance can be struck. As the Prime Minister outlined, we must preserve the health of the vulnerable and restrict the spread of COVID-19, while doing all that we can to maintain the mental, social and physical health of the nation. We endorse this approach and encourage the public to strictly follow social distancing guidance while exercising outside, close to home. 

“A nation in lockdown could lead to enhanced anxiety, depression, social unrest, mental and physical ill health, and social poverty. In contrast, carefully managed local exercise, inside or outside, will provide welcome active release for individuals and families feeling trapped. Getting into the outdoors sensibly very close to our own homes now, will make it easier for all of us to sustain other official guidelines and preserve the health of the vulnerable in the longer term. “Fully respecting the need for the ill and vulnerable to remain self-isolated, for those healthy individuals and families with no symptoms, getting active outside remains one of the very few tools left to fight the social impact of this disease.

“We 35 national outdoor organisations advocate the following:

  • Enjoy active outdoor recreation in your local area, while practicing good social distancing at all times
  • Do not travel to popular tourist areas and reduce the risk of groups gathering in one place
  • Stay close to home – consider low risk, familiar activities in local areas, such as a local walk or run.
  • Avoid public transport and social gatherings – keep active by travelling on foot or bike
  • Outdoor play and learning opportunities that reflect government guidelines are available to children, including those of key workers attending school.

“To the extent areas of the outdoors remain open, if you can get outside close to home while taking sensible precautions, then please do so. Now, possibly more than ever, staying active is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

These are the organisations that have so far endorsed the statement:

  • The Outdoor Industries Association
  • Ordnance Survey
  • The National Trust 
  • Forestry England
  • The British Mountaineering Council
  • British Cycling 
  • British Canoeing
  • Plas Y Brenin - National Outdoor Centre 
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning
  • English Outdoor Council 
  • Association of Heads of Outdoor Education
  • The Outward Bound Trust 
  • Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
  • Tourism Alliance
  • UK Active
  • The Camping & Caravanning Club 
  • Sport and Recreation Alliance 
  • Youth Adventure Trust 
  • Mountain Training  
  • British Mountain Guides
  • Association of Mountaineering Instructors
  • British Association of International Mountain Leaders
  • Canal & River Trust
  • Youth Hostel Association
  • Open Spaces Society
  • British Activity Providers Association
  • The Ramblers
  • Walkers are Welcome
  • British Horse Society
  • Northern Ireland Sports Forum
  • Mountaineering Scotland
  • Outdoor Recreation Network
  • Outdoor Recreation Network Northern Ireland
  • British Orienteering
  • It’s Great Out There Coalition

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