While hundreds of families decided to take a trip to Cassiobury Park, most visitors kept their distance and avoided potential chaos, following the Watford Mayor’s plea.

The hot weather this weekend has made it tempting to visit Watford’s parks and enjoy the fresh air, as an even sunnier Bank Holiday Monday approaches.

But Mayor Peter Taylor recently warned the public to avoid large gatherings and breaking social distancing restrictions, as other families across the country were captured flocking to England’s beaches earlier in the week.

I took a visit to Watford's Cassiobury Park this afternoon (May 24) to see how well people were confirming to social distancing measures, and seeing if I could spot any rule breakers.

While the car park at Cassiobury Park was quite full, marshals were at hand to ease the process and help visitors quickly get to the park.

Watford Observer:

The car park was busy, but people kept their distance once at the park

But once there, it seemed many took the Mayor's advice as people stayed at home, and from the people who were there, very few seemed to be breaking current restrictions.

A ‘needed’ and ‘calming’ experience

Watford Observer:

With eased lockdown restrictions allowing people within their own households to gather in parks and sunbathe, many families took the opportunity to enjoy a picnic and relax in the outdoors.

One mother, Sophie Coles from Northwood, said that this trip was “much needed” and she was prepared to retreat home if crowds overtook the park.

She said: “We’ve tried to keep the kids indoors as much as possible, but of course they need their playtime too.

“It’s obviously good to get out of the house and get a different calming environment around you, to be honest it’s much needed.

“I said though that if we came here and it was busy, we’d be heading straight back home!”

The mother of three said she was pleasantly surprised about how empty the park was, after seeing news reports on nationals of Southend beach overcrowded with tourists.

She continued: “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if others are taking social distancing as seriously as you are, so it was good to see.”

Watford Observer:

The park was also a cyclist haven, as many rode by in clusters of bicycles. While it was difficult to confirm if some groups of cyclists were within the same household, many seemed to keep a 2-metre distance.

One cyclist who was taking a rest told me that they cycle around the park quite often since the lockdown, and while there is the “odd few” appearing to break restrictions, people seem to follow the government guidelines.

During my hour long visit at the park, I watched as gatherings – roughly no more than five members each- were alert in giving other visitors the appropriate space.

Watford Observer:

There was one moment that did stand out to me, as I saw a group of around six teenagers relaxing around the River Gade and appearing to flout the rules.

However, during my visit, these teenagers appeared to be the minority in an overall cautious crowd.

What did the Watford Mayor say?

Mr Taylor gave a clear warning earlier this week to avoid temptation with the sunny weather.

He said: “I know that with this sunny weather arriving, there may be a temptation to meet in large groups and break social distancing rules, but it is really important that we remember to stay and do all we can to protect ourselves and others from this awful virus.

“I know the police will be out in our local parks over this weekend and will take action if they are worried about people’s safety.”

However, during the visit I was unable to spot an officer at Cassiobury Park.

The Mayor added: “I urge people in our town over this Bank Holiday weekend to continue to try and stay at home as much as they can, consider others, stay safe and save as many lives as possible."

He added: “I’d like to thank everyone in our town who have continued to listen to the NHS advice as over the last few months.”

What is the weather on the Bank Holiday?

Monday (May 25) is expected to be quite hotter today, with clearer skies and tempratures reaching 22°C in Watford.

Anyone visiting parks during the Bank Holiday is asked to continue social distancing.