THE National Trust has warned that social distancing on footpaths is causing erosion.

Ranger teams and volunteers are encouraging a change in behaviour to prevent the risk of lasting damage to landscapes.

According to the National Trust, the new tiering system is likely to attract more people to exercise in the countryside and is asking people to help minimise the effects of any further erosion.

“Many of our sites are currently seeing three times the usual number of visitors they would get on a busy summer’s day,” said Rob Rhodes, Head of Countryside Management at the National Trust.

“We want to do everything we can to encourage more people to get outdoors and to be active and to engage with nature.

Rob said: “A rare positive of the coronavirus pandemic is how we’ve witnessed thousands more people get out and about as and when government restrictions allow to enjoy the countryside.

“However, landscapes are more susceptible to damage at this time of year due to the colder and wetter weather, and we want to help people understand how each and every one of us can play a role in looking after these beautiful places.

He added: “We recognise that people are getting fed up with having so many rules to follow, but if we can all play our part by looking after our paths, then we can ensure more people can enjoy them all the year round – and that they can remain open and accessible.”

The charity, which has already had its finances stretched due to the coronavirus pandemic, anticipates that it will need to raise extra money to repair pathways damaged over the past six months alone, as well as fundraising for on-going maintenance and repairs.

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