Colwick residents outraged as crowds flock to local nature reserve.
After the latest UK Government guidelines were announced (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-six-people-can-meet-outside-under-new-measures-to-ease-lockdown) allowing groups of 6 to converge in open spaces (announced 28/05/20), it is apparent that Nottingham’s outdoor spaces will bare the brunt of the increase in local ‘Lockdown-Tourism’.
This was the scene today at the popular Colwick Country Park as families ventured out to enjoy the bountiful sunshine and skyrocketing temperatures. A scene of frivolity and overflowing bins does not reference any of the apparent dangers we have been hiding-away from over the last 10 weeks.
The new guidelines set to be live from Monday 1st June are already being applied by frustrated Nottinghamites who are yearning for both outdoor socialising and human contact. Most appear either unaware or blasé about the restrictions and have irrelevantly decided to soak-up the natural delights of the nature park.
With the increase in visitors, comes a rise in the problems they bring to the park and surrounding area. Firstly, there is the issue of litter, with many local residents angrily punching-out facebook rants about litter being left in the park and bins overflowing. This obviously is especially pertinent to Colwick Park as this can lead to serious issues should it come into contact with the abundant wildlife who call the park and lakes home.
Secondly, obviously there is a huge risk of the people attending the park to pass on or pick up coronavirus simply due to the number of people in the park. It is highly likely that people will use the hand-rail when crossing a bridge or simply expel the pathogen in their exhaling breath while completing their 5km challenge around the lakes.
Another product of this ‘tourism’ is that non-local people usually travel to the area by car. This has caused further anger from the local residents as they battle through a sea of cars lining the streets to make essential journeys of their own. This anger has already led to the closing of the ‘inner’ car park adjacent to the Warden’s Hut building earlier this week after motorists were found to be parking along River Road once the car park was full which hampered cars trying to leave the area.
With temperatures set to increase further throughout the weekend and the lockdown easing to come into force Monday; could this quiet, idyllic nature reserve and others like it around the county, become the new epicentres of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nottinghamshire?