Play areas across North Devon will be re-opening to the public over the coming weeks as the UK gradually comes out of Coronavirus lockdown.

North Devon Council manages twenty play areas, two skate parks and a BMX pump track, which were all closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, in accordance with Government guidelines to help prevent the spread of the disease.  As part of the easing of restrictions, they can now re-open in a phased roll out, starting with the higher use play areas such as Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe and Pilton Park in Barnstaple.

As part of the reopening, Parks Officers from the council have been working hard on advice and measures to help make visits to play areas as safe as possible. Signage will be in place to remind people to:

  • maintain social distancing
  • wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visit
  • take their own hand sanitiser wherever possible
  • not to eat and drink whilst using play equipment
  • dispose of litter in the bins provided
  • be considerate of other park users and if any play area appears busy, to come back at a later time

Parents are reminded that if they have a garden or safe space for their children to play in that they should continue to use that rather than go to a play area. As with all outdoor equipment that can be accessed by multiple people, play areas cannot be guaranteed to be free of COVID-19. Parents should supervise their children at all times and should take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their children while using the equipment.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden said: "We are delighted to be able to open our play areas again. With school holidays coming up soon, we want people to enjoy all the health benefits of outdoor play, however those who use these spaces must remember to stick to social distancing and hygiene guidelines, such as sanitising children's hands both before and after using the play equipment. This is so important for the safety of everyone in our communities, as we try to minimise the spread of this virus."

North Devon Council's outdoor play areas cater for young people aged three to 13 years old and are free of charge.  A full list of Council-run play areas can be found here.

The list is not exhaustive as many North Devon towns and villages also have play areas, which are managed by their town or parish councils and some are run by local housing associations.

For the latest Government guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms, visit: Guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms

Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus must not visit a play area. Any coughs or sneezes should be caught with a tissue or wipe, and disposed of safely at home.