22nd May 2020

Keep avoiding narrow pathways

Part of the charm of our beautiful town is its narrow winding lanes and pathways, which meander between the old weavers cottages on the hillside, all the way up to the Chapel of St Mary Tory, as well of course the stunning views once you reach the top.

However, during this period, when we are still trying to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, these walkways have proven to be particularly difficult for people to navigate safely, keeping at least 2 meters away from everyone at ALL times, at the same time as avoiding residents properties which flank the paths.

Just as is the case on the canal towpath, properties may have residents who are shielding and/or isolating with symptoms, and of course walkers, whether symptomatic or not, may also be carrying or be susceptible to the virus.

Today, Leader of the Council Dom Newton met with PC Louis Bowden and PCSO Andrew McLachlan up at the Chapel, in addition to some residents, to discuss concerns particularly in the light of the approaching half term, when families both from the town and further afield, may be heading out to explore.

As with other areas of concern, we’re working very closely with Wiltshire Police to monitor the situation and try to head issues off, rather than have to respond – we are speaking regularly to the local Neighbourhood Policing team for that reason.” said Cllr Newton
“It’s easy to forget just how narrow some of the lanes up and down the hillside are – and to accidentally end up walking quite close to both other pedestrians, and even people’s front rooms.   One of the ways that people are coping with lockdown is, understandably, to find new and interesting local walks; but we all have to remember that people live here also, so we do need to pay attention to where we’re going, particularly when walking in a group, to be courteous and keep two metres distance from anyone not in our own household, as well as from the fronts of buildings.”

Residents we spoke with today and during the past few weeks have said that most people try to follow these guidelines, but in some places it is near impossible, particularly since the recent restrictions changes which have resulted in more and more people venturing out.

Of course the hillside is not the only place where pathways are narrow; Market Street and the Town Bridge, amongst many other areas, also present challenges for pedestrians trying to avoid each other.

So during this time, we ask you, particularly where walking in a pair or family group, to plan your route and activities with others safety, as well as your own, in mind. Head for open spaces and parks wherever possible, and consider taking longer routes around, such as the McKeever pedestrian bridge.

Neighbourhood Police Constable Louis Bowden said:
“In general, we have found that the community have really risen to the challenge during this time, and kept away from towpaths and narrow streets, as well as each other. We’d ask that people continue to do this until further notice. Although some restrictions have been eased, it is important that we all continue to observe social distancing of at least 2m from anyone from a different household.”
Watch our ‘Exercising Safely’ animation below – Commissioned by Bradford on Avon Town Council