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Coronavirus Kent: Country parks including Brockhill and Shorne Woods to stay open

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Kent County Council (KCC) is to keep its country parks open - despite concerns that they could lead to coronavirus spreading due to the number of visitors.

The country parks have been kept open despite media coverage focusing on the number of people visiting parks, beaches and gardens elsewhere in the country, raising questions about "social distancing."

Shorne Woods Country Park
Shorne Woods Country Park

A spokesman from KCC said: "We recognise our parks are important community facilities, especially at the moment.

"We are therefore monitoring the demands on the parks today and checking on the conduct of visitors with regard to social distancing as we wish to ensure we make the right decision for the benefit of all our residents."

There are nine parks which are spread across the county with a range of activities and attractions.

The nine are: Brockhill Country Park near Hythe; Lullingstone Country Park in Eynsford; Pegwell Bay Country Park in Cliffsend; Grove Ferry Picnic Park in Canterbury; Manor Park Country Park in West Malling; Shorne Woods Country Park in Gravesend; Teston Bridge Country Park near Maidstone; Trosley Country Park in Dartford and White Horse Wood Country Park near Maidstone.

The National Trust already closed its properties and parks.

Trosley Country Park
Trosley Country Park

In Kent, that has affected several popular attractions including Smallhythe Place near Tenterden.

However, some parks are closing like Jeskyns Community Woodland in Gravesend.

The popular destination is managed by Forestry England which said the decision had been made is to keep the public, staff and volunteers safe.

Maidstone Borough Council have also announced it will be closing its parks 'with immediate effect.'

Swale council will shut all its children's play areas from tomorrow.

Andrew Williams, Parks and Open Spaces Manager, said: “As a result of the large numbers of people who are still visiting outdoor spaces up and down the country we have taken the difficult decision to try and limit access.

“We fully appreciate our parks are really important places for local communities, especially at this moment, however we need to make sure people are keeping a safe distance from others so have decided to impose these restrictions for the benefit of all our residents.”

The parks being closed include Mote Park; South Park; Whatman Park and Cornwallis Park among others.

Essex County Council has already moved to close its parks.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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