The Saunton Beach car park has been closed until further notice.

Saunton Beach Enterprises, which manages the beach and car park, said the main car park and Sandy Lane at the Burrows would be shut from 7pm on Wednesday, March 25.

The beach will remain open to walkers but there will be no vehicle access and people parking irresponsibly outside could face penalties, it warned.

In a statement, the company said: “This decision has been taken in line with Government and Police guidelines regarding non-essential travel, health and safety guidelines for the wellbeing of our staff, and in light of the extra strain placed on emergency services to enforce social distancing in areas where there is the potential for significant numbers of people gathering.

“In response to your queries regarding Government’s advice allowing one exercise session a day, we appreciate that the situation in the country is different to that of the cities, and that we are more reliant on cars to travel from A to B creating something of a grey area.

“However, other beaches around the country are closing and we feel that we should also remove any ambiguity.

“Once again, this decision is a regretful one (especially when the sun is shining at last), but we feel it is justified in the interests of our social responsibility to the local community.”

The statement said season ticket holders for the car park would have their permits automatically extended when the car park reopens.