Google tracking data shows where people have been going in Norfolk as lockdown eases

People out cycling and exercising in Eaton Park during lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

People out cycling and exercising in Eaton Park during lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Technology giant Google used location data to chart trends in people’s movement in the home, retail and recreation centres, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs and parks and green spaces.

On June 24, visits to parks, beaches and public gardens in Norfolk increased by 150pc, compared to the UK average figure of 98pc.

Two days after non-essential shops reopened on July 4, the numbers of visits to these areas across Norfolk increased by 130pc compared to 76pc across the UK.

Since then, after different areas began to open up as lockdown restrictions eased, the numbers of people enjoying the great outdoors across the county has generally increased.

The biggest spike was on July 31 when there was a 306pc increase in visits compared to the UK-wide figure of 120pc.

MORE: Runner’s fury as Norwich park is ‘trashed’Pat Garner, membership secretary for Friends of Eaton Park in Norwich, which formed in 2007, said the park off Colman Road was busier than usual during lockdown.

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She said: “It has been very popular. We are very lucky to have it. It was somewhere where people could go out for their daily walk. People came here because everything else was closed down. We are proud of our park.”

Mrs Garner added another reason why parks had been so popular was because people had not been able to get away on holiday.

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But she said the increase in visitors to the Norwich City Council-owned park did mean an increase in littering despite bins being available.

“People should take their litter home with them,” Mrs Garner added.

She thanked the council for keeping the park open and said: “In some areas of the country people couldn’t go to the park. I think that is the best thing the council could have done for the people of Norwich to keep our parks going.”

Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing on Norwich City Council, said: “Visiting parks and open space plays a critical role in people’s lives for leisure, physical exercise and mental health. We have done everything we can to keep them accessible during this pandemic.

“The number of people using our parks and open spaces has increased substantially throughout the last few months, with our tennis and mini golf facilities being especially well-used since we were able to re-open them. Norwich City Council has a proud record of investing in our cherished, and precious, parks and open spaces and we will continue to do so.

“We ask that people continue to adhere to all governmental guidance while using our parks, and please check our website if any clarification is needed.”

MORE: Google tracking shows where Norfolk people went during lockdown

Norfolk’s beaches have continued to prove popular places to visit with thousands, including holidaymakers, flocking to the coast.

Kayla Dunne, brand manager for Visit North Norfolk, said: “Our fantastic beaches, six of which are Blue Flag, the deep history coast and beautiful parks are enjoyed by residents and of course are appealing to visitors, looking for outdoor areas to spend time safely.

“With this in mind, North Norfolk District Council and businesses in the area have measures in place to encourage social distancing, sanitisation and safe enjoyment for everyone. Our forthcoming marketing campaign, Unexplored North Norfolk, showcases areas outside the popular places to encourage visits to other areas and stretches of the coast that visitors may not have known about.

“In terms of visitor numbers, we have seen an increased level of visitor numbers to our beaches compared to last year.”

She said there was an 18pc rise in car park usage in comparison to July 2019.

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