Amid rumours of an ease to lockdown, and with the bank holiday weekend ahead, the closed visitor attraction asks people to avoid travelling to the site by car.
The Visitor Centre, café, car park, cave tours and museum at Creswell Crags have been closed due to COVID-19 since 17th March. Creswell Heritage Trust, the charity which runs the site on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border, and recently sounded the alarm regarding its prospects of surviving lockdown without visitor income, is now requesting that people do not visit the site by car until the site fully reopens.
Although the Visitor Centre and car park are closed, and staff either furloughed or working from home, the picturesque limestone gorge is accessible via a public bridleway. Local people are making the most of the beauty spot on their doorstep to take their daily exercise and walk dogs. Posts on social media have already asked them to take litter home, since staff are not there to empty bins, but otherwise these local visitors who arrive on foot are welcome.
However, the Trust is asking people not to travel to the site from further afield, particularly by car. There is no parking and visitors have been leaving cars on the main road outside the entrance gates, and in Creswell village, at the other end of the gorge. This poses problems for local residents, and traffic safety. A busy site might also make it difficult to maintain necessary social distancing on the narrower footpaths.Paul Baker, Executive Director says: “In normal circumstances we would enthusiastically welcome visitors this time of year but given the lockdown we are asking people not to visit other than for their short daily exercise, if they live locally. We want to minimise disruption for our neighbours and make sure social distancing is possible on site. We also want to be sure everyone is safe: the locked gates mean there is no access for emergency vehicles, and the absence of staff on site means there are no First Aiders, as there usually would be. It is regrettable but for safety reasons, and out of respect for local residents, we must ask people to stay away.”
Creswell Crags has launched a number of online activities to allow people to engage with the site from home, including a Poetry Competition to be judged by their Poet in Residence. The Trust also has a JustGiving page and is asking for donations to help secure their future. A tenant of the Welbeck Estate, a rent holiday was announced by the landowner last week, to help support Creswell Crags as a well loved part of the local community.