Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is starting to open its forest car parks from Friday 3 July onwards, in line with current Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance.

The re-opening will be carried out on a phased basis which will allow the majority of FLS car parks across the country to welcome back visitors.

At this stage, most of the larger visitor centres and their parking facilities will remain closed whilst COVID-19 safe working practices for staff and visitors are put in place. FLS aim to have these larger centres re-opened as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of Dumfries and Galloway, forest car parks in the affected areas are not re-opening until 10 July at the earliest.

Public toilets remain closed and therefore visitors are being reminded to “go before you go”.

Walking trails have been open throughout the lockdown and are there for more people to enjoy as travel restrictions are eased. Most mountain bike routes, including the 7stanes, remain closed for now.

Members of the public are being urged to check the Forestry and Land Scotland website before they decide to visit any woodlands.

CEO for Forestry and Land Scotland, Simon Hodgson said:

“I’m really pleased that we can start a phased re-opening of car parks and welcome more visitors to our forests and woodlands. We are not quite at the stage where we can re-open everything but we are getting there as quickly as we can.

“It has been a difficult time for everyone and this includes our staff. I would ask that all visitors are considerate with our staff – we are all in this together and learning a “new normal”.

“We know that visitors are keen to use the car parks and this may result in some very busy periods. Please be prepared to adapt your plans and have an alternative location in mind in case your forest destination looks too busy.

“Please remember that although restrictions are easing, the virus is still there so follow the physical distancing guidance and stay safe, protect others and save lives.”

Over the past weeks FLS staff have been carrying out many health and safety checks to popular woodland sites. Unfortunately, whilst undertaking this, they have also spent a lot of time tidying up after anti-social behaviour. The public is being asked to take home their litter, and be kind and considerate to all others using the forest.

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