COVID-19 - Wimbledon and Putney Commons

With many people deciding not to travel or go too far on holiday at the moment, keeping Wimbledon and Putney Commons accessible to all still remains our priority. Not surprisingly, visitor numbers to this unique resource have been persistently high;  at times they have been twice the normal levels.

As the Government has changed its guidance on accessing open spaces, so we have amended our restrictions accordingly but taking into account the local situation, particularly in respect of the higher visitor numbers we are experiencing and the need to keep everyone safe. 

We continue to encourage all our visitors to maintain the current social distancing guidelines, and to be aware of other visitors who may not be comfortable with you getting too close.  Remember you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

For the safety and well-being of others, please do not visit the Commons if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms of the virus (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell).

Social Distancing

Social distancing measures have been mandated by government to reduce social interaction between people in order to limit the transmission of coronavirus.

For your own safety and well-being, please follow government guidelines in respect of social distancing and keep at least 2 metres (6’ 6”) between you and non-household or "bubble" members where possible, or 1m with risk mitigation (such as masks); this includes both other visitors to the Commons as well as members of our staff.  This is particularly important if you are running or cycling.

Please remember that, despite government guidance, some people are still uncomfortable with people getting too close.  Please respect this and avoid close contact.

Update on Facilities

Commons' Car Parks

The Telegraph Car Park and Springwell car parks are fully open.

The Windmill Car Park - is now open from 7.00am to 8.30pm.

The white gate at the bottom of Windmill Road is also locked at 8.30pm so please DO NOT leave your car outside the car park, you could still be locked in. 

REMPF car park is now open between 8.30am and 4.30pm

Toilet Facilities

The Toilets at the Windmill car park are now open every day from 7am to 6pm.  Social distancing restrictions are in place and you are kindly asked to observe these. 

REMPF toilets are now open 7am to 3.30pm.

Windmill Tea Rooms

The Tea Rooms are now open from 8.45am to 5.45pm for takeaway food only, although there is seating available outside.  Please observe the safety measures they have in place. 

Walking Dogs on the Commons

We strongly advise that dogs be on a lead between 9am and 7pm. Outside of these times, dogs may be off-lead with the exception of the seasonal restrictions requiring dogs to be kept out of ponds and also on leads around Queensmere and on The Plain - these restrictions remain in place for the sake of our wildfowl and we ask you to respect them.

What do we mean by “strongly advise”? This means that we ask you to take responsibility for ensuring that your dog remains under proper control at all times and that you are able to recall your dog if the situation demands it. If you cannot guarantee this, then please keep your dog on a lead. Given the significantly increased visitor numbers we are currently experiencing, this is particularly important if you are walking when or where it is busy. Please respect all our visitors - some people are frightened of dogs, may be vulnerable and at risk of being injured if knocked over, or simply don’t want their family picnic invaded. In accordance with our byelaws, our staff may ask you to put your dog on a lead to prevent your dog from causing a nuisance or in any way endangering other visitors.

Pick up after your dogs – There has been a significant increase in the amount of dog-waste being left on the Commons so could we please remind all dog-walkers to pick up their dog's waste whilst walking anywhere on the Commons.

The ‘Dogs on Lead’ area and the ‘Skylark Zone’ restrictions on The Plain have been in place since 1 March 2020 to encourage and protect our ground-nesting birds, such as Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.  Please look out for the notices, keep your dogs on lead in this area and keep to the grass pathways.  Many birds also nest in areas of bramble and gorse so do be careful in these areas too.

The ‘Dogs out of Ponds’ restriction came into place on 1 April 2020 and most of our ponds will be dog-free zones in order to protect our young wildfowl as they prepare to leave the nest.   Around Queensmere, you will also need to keep your dog on a lead.  This is as much for their protection as it is to protect our resident swans – during breeding/nesting season they will attack a dog without a second thought.

No more than four dogs are permitted in any one group.

Don't let your dog disturb other visitors or wildlife.

Please remember that some people are scared of dogs, perhaps more so at this time.

Horses

The Commons are now fully utilised for horse-riding.  Please take care if walking near the horse rides and to be aware that you might come across horses, particularly if you have dogs and/or young children with you. 

Golf 

Golf is in play from 7.30am to 8.30pm

Bins/Rubbish

The most pressing issue for our staff is the emptying of litter and dog-waste bins.    

To help us deal with the current situation and in the interest of keeping the Commons clean and tidy at all times, we have installed further bins at Rushmere and Putney Lower Common.  If all the bins are full we would kindly ask that you take your rubbish and any dog-waste home with you for disposal.  Please do not leave your litter at the side of the bins;  it not only presents a risk to wildlife that lives on the Common, but also presents a health risk.  It also doubles the amount of clearing-up our staff have to do when it has been attacked by crows and foxes. 

Benches

Please be aware that the benches are not sanitised and, in order to maintain social distancing you should only use a bench with other members of your household.

Byelaws

Despite the alien environment in which we find ourselves, our byelaws are still very much in effect and are enforced by our Keepers.  The byelaws protect the Commons, our flora and fauna, as well as the safety of our visitors and set out exactly what is and isn’t permitted.  Upholding law and order during these difficult times is of paramount importance and is a responsibility that our staff take seriously.

In addition to what has already been mentioned, we would also draw your attention to the following: 

  • Do not light barbeques or any form of fire. The ground may be wet but, in some areas, it is drying out quickly and we have already had a number of fires over the past month.
  • Do not fly any drones or model aircraft.

 

We thank everyone for using the Commons responsibly.

Thank you.

28 April 2020
Updated 12 May 2020
Updated 20 May 2020
Updated 28 May 2020
Updated 1 June 2020
Updated 8 June 2020
Updated 20 July 2020