Three of North Devon’s major tourist beach car parks have decided to reopen but visitors are urged to observe the rules on social distancing.

Saunton beach car park will reopen on May 18. Archive picture taken during a previous season.Saunton beach car park will reopen on May 18. Archive picture taken during a previous season.

Saunton Beach car park is set to open on Monday, May 18, while Putsborough reopened on Wednesday (May 13) and Downend car park at Croyde opened today (Friday, May 15).

The operators of all three venues have urged people to use common sense, maintain the social distancing measures of two metres and use hygiene measures such as gloves or hand sanitiser.

A joint statement from the Saunton beach operators and the beach businesses said they were aware the decision ‘would divide local opinion’.

It said: “However, we will be doing what we can to make this work for the best, monitor the situation very closely and be prepared to react if the situation becomes untenable.

Putsborough Sands and its car park pictured before coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty/Ian WoolcockPutsborough Sands and its car park pictured before coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty/Ian Woolcock

“We would ask the community to stay safe, respect guidelines and work with us to find a way through this situation, as it looks like the ‘new normal’ is going to be with us for quite some time to come.”

The toilets will not be open yet. All season tickets have been given an automatic eight weeks extension.

Putsborough’s operator said it had been hoped to bring in a scheme restricting use to those in the local area, but the Government announcement on no restriction on travel had put paid to that.

A statement said: “We therefore think that it is safer to open the car park and ensure people have more space to access the beach. This way we can manage the situation more safely.”

Downend car park at Croyde has reopened as lockdown restrictions ease, but visitors have been urged to be sensible. Picture: GoogleDownend car park at Croyde has reopened as lockdown restrictions ease, but visitors have been urged to be sensible. Picture: Google

It said the car park will be contactless payment only and operating with a reduced capacity, with marshals on site.

The toilets will be open and the café will have a limited takeaway option.

The Downend operators urged people to be sensible, follow social distancing and keep socialising to a minimum.

The toilets and café will remain closed at this time.

A statement said: “Like the Gov says, if the rules cannot be adhered to, we will be forced to reverse. Life has not returned to normal.

“It’s in your hands.”

For full details on Saunton Beach parking CLICK HERE .

For details on Putsborough parking CLICK HERE .

For Downend parking information, CLICK HERE .