Boom in park visits as Covid restrictions ease, figures show

Plenty of people were enjoying the sunshine in Eaton Park on the first day of step two of the roadma

Plenty of people were enjoying the sunshine in Eaton Park on the first day of step two of the roadmap on March 29, 2021. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Parks saw a boom in visitor numbers after lockdown restrictions were eased around Easter, new figures reveal.

The data from Google shows that from March 29 to April 4, 60pc more people in Norfolk went to green outdoor spaces, compared to the numbers visiting parks between January 3 and February 6, 2020.

In the first week of the most recent lockdown, the numbers of people visiting parks was 25pc below the baseline figure of park visitors from early 2020.

It is slightly lower than the UK-wide increase of 70pc in park visits during the same week, which saw two households or groups of six allowed to meet outside.

Margaret Bevan, a member of the Friends of Waterloo Park, said it was lovely to see groups of people in Norwich park, as well as people exercising, and children playing sensibly.

She said: "It has not caused problems of litter that have happened in other areas.

"The new benches that have been renovated by the pavilion have been well used.

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"Small groups have been using the goal posts to play football. People have been very considerate of each other. There has been a mixture of people including walkers and cyclists, elderly people and younger people exercising. It is great to see everyone back.

"Lots of people use Waterloo Park and they are being very sensible."

Mrs Bevan added the city council-owned park, off Angel Road, was in an area where not everyone had gardens and some lived in flats.

She said it was a lovely place for the community to mingle and added it was well used throughout the lockdown.

Waterloo Park pavilion.

Waterloo Park pavilion. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

"We have always tried to encourage people who live locally to use it. It is up to us to look after it and treasure it and I think people will even more now," Mrs Bevan said.

The Google figures show that from March 29 to April 4, 12pc more people in Norfolk stayed at home compared to the period between January 3 and February 6, 2020.

But there was drop of 3pc in terms of visits to supermarkets in the first week of restrictions compared to the start of 2020, a 39pc drop in workplace visits, 46pc fall in terms of retail and recreation and a 49pc decrease in people using public transport.

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