COUNTRY estates across the region are welcoming back visitors after implementing social distancing measures.

Visitors to Bolton Abbey were guaranteed a safe visit after the estate and North Yorkshire County Council highways staff united to manage the roadside parking and ensure social distancing was maintained.

As Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed, the county council is working with partners in district and borough councils, the police and the national parks to help tourist destinations reopen safely.

Ben Heyes, estate director at Bolton Abbey, was pleased to welcome the presence of the highways team.

He said: “We have had and continue to have some very happy visitors within the core cstate where it has been remarkably serene, better than ever perhaps for the visitors.

“The challenges, common with other parts of the Yorkshire Dales, have been at the peripheries and controlling access to only those with pre-booked tickets.

"However, the support we have had from highways enforcement and the police has been clearly evident and extremely welcome.

When Bolton Abbey reopened, extra signage, a one way system, additional toilets and hand washing facilities were put in place, and security staff were deployed.

All tickets are booked online to control numbers and enable visitors to social distance.

Harrogate Borough Council enforced the yellow lines in the area and North Yorkshire Police enforced any vehicles who were obstructing the roads in locations were yellow line restrictions were not in place.

Andrew Clare, senior traffic management and parking engineer, said: “The feedback was that our efforts assisted greatly, particularly with the large volume of motorists who turned up simply ignoring the advice and turning up without a pre-booked parking ticket then parking on the yellow lines and in locations that affected road safety and accessibility.

“When the enforcement teams were on site motorists clearly got the message especially in respect of the yellow lines with many driving off once they realised enforcement was in operation.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, added: “As one of North Yorkshire's most popular visitor attractions, the reopening of Bolton Abbey was very likely to attract large numbers of people.

"That is why the county council alongside the police and Harrogate Borough Council worked with the estate to make suitable preparations which ensured the arrangements for visitors worked well and were safe.”

Kiplin Hall and Gardens is another estate that has enjoyed a successful reopening.

Opening its gates for the first time since the lockdown, the estate welcomed 259 visitors over the three days, with social distancing measuring in place and one-way routes.

Director James Etherington said: "It is a pleasure to see people back at Kiplin, enjoying the grounds."