Sustrans and Covid-19

Last updated 10 November 2020

It is our top priority to support staff, volunteers, supporters, partners and the communities we work with during the current Coronavirus outbreak.

We’re following government and NHS guidance closely, and have made some arrangements to protect people and help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Sustrans takes the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, supporters and communities we work with very seriously.

And we want to do everything we can to protect people and curb the spread of the virus as much as possible.


Here are some of our latest projects and ways we're working to support people to walk and cycle during the lockdown and beyond.


Cycles for key workers

We want to help our frontline heroes cycle to and from work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So we've created an interactive map to help key workers find bike offers and services in their area.

Take a look at the map and find an offer or service in your area.

Space to move

Local authorities across the UK are making changes to our streets in response to Covid-19.

These changes are designed to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle safely whilst social distancing during the lockdown and beyond.

Take a look at our Space to move map and tell us what you think about a change in your area.

Outside In: resources for parents

We have put together four weeks of fun and educational resources to support families during lockdown.

Our experienced school's officers have designed active-themed indoor and outdoor activities for pupils and parents to enjoy.

View the resources and sign up to receive lockdown activities for families.

Life after lockdown: Our policy briefing series

We explore how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people in relation to transport and movement, and neighbourhoods and places in this series of briefing papers.

Read our Life after lockdown series.

Advice on walking and cycling during the Covid-19 outbreak

Walking and cycling

Latest Government lockdown measures in England allow exercising including running, walking or cycling, with people you live with or your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble.

You should stay local wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).

You are allowed to leave your home for the following purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities
  • to spend time or to exercise outdoors
  • childcare or education where this is not provided online
  • and for work, where you cannot work from home.

If you need to travel, do walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise physical distancing while you travel.

Bike stores remain open.

Those in Scotland are allowed unlimited travel for outdoor leisure and exercise.

You are advised to travel by foot, wheel or cycle where possible. Read the latest Scottish government advice.

We've also teamed up with our partners to give you some handy tips for walking, cycling and wheeling safely in Scotland during the pandemic. Take a look at the guidance.

In Wales, people should stay out of each other’s homes (except in very limited circumstances) and limit the times they leave their home, and the distance they travel. Work from home if you can.

When you do leave home, try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally.

Playing sport or exercising is allowed in a group of up to 30 people outdoors or 15 people indoors when part of an organised activity managed for example by a gym, a leisure centre or a sports club.

And in Northern Ireland, up to 15 people can meet outdoors, but you should maintain social distancing by being at least two metres apart, as well as good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.

Up to six people from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in this total.

Spending time outdoors is good for your physical and mental health. Physical activities, such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding, or just walking the dog, bring many health benefits.

You can travel for recreational purposes to outdoor open spaces such as parks, forest parks and visitor attractions. Town centres remain open for business.

When using outdoor spaces, you should follow the rules and social distancing guidelines.


Remember to keep 2-3 metres between you and the nearest person. And always follow NHS guidance on hygiene too.

Read our call to the UK Government to make individual walking and cycling easier during Covid-19.

And take a look at our open letter to the Department of Transport on the need for temporary cycling and walking infrastructure.


Using the National Cycle Network

We’re asking users and all affiliated groups not to run any group activities, group walks or rides, and events on the National Cycle Network.

However, as long as current government advice on social distancing is followed, you can still go for a walk or cycle on your own, or with members of your household (as long as they have not presented symptoms).

We ask that you please think ahead about which route you plan to take.

Stay local and only go where you know will be quiet.

Please be aware that many paths on the Network may not be wide enough for you to maintain the minimum of 2 metres of physical distance between yourself and the nearest person.

With the increase in different users enjoying their local routes, we've put together some guidance on how to share, respect and enjoy the National Cycle Network.

And, if you’re currently unable to go outside, we’ll continue to bring the Network to you here on our website and on our social media channels.


Maintenance of the Network

Non-essential maintenance on National Cycle Network routes that we are responsible for has been postponed until further notice.

Some volunteers are now carrying out small actions on the Network such as litter picking and cutting back vegetation.

And some of our staff are also now heading out to do maintenance and improvement works on routes too.

Please be respectful if you meet them out on the path.

A lot of work was delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak, so please bear with us as we get things up and running again.

Please continue to report anything you spot to your local Sustrans office and your local council.

However, do note that the issue may not be resolved until it is safe for our staff to look into it.

How we're supporting people during the outbreak

How we’re supporting staff

We’ve asked all staff members who are able to, to work from home. This particularly includes any staff members who are vulnerable to the outbreak or are the carers of vulnerable people.

All staff members have been asked to avoid non-essential travel too.

You can still contact teams by email, and by mobile phone where relevant. The main reception in our Bristol office is still open to phone calls too.

Please visit the contact us page for more information.

Our advice to volunteers

The Coronavirus outbreak has had a direct impact on volunteering activities across the globe.

And this impact will vary in different regions or nations depending on your local restrictions.

We're now supporting volunteers to carry out some small actions on the National Cycle Network where it is safe to do so.

These actions can be carried out alone, with a member of their own household, or buddied up with one other volunteer from a different home. Tasks include:

  • route and signage checks
  • picking up small amounts of litter
  • snipping back easy-to-reach vegetation
  • cleaning graffiti
  • monitoring wildlife.

We're assessing larger tasks, group activities and volunteering across our projects on a case-by-case basis.

If you are a volunteer and have any questions or concerns about your activities in light of Covid-19, please email

Fundraising on the National Cycle Network

Following government advice, we have suspended our face-to-face fundraising until further notice.

In the meantime, we are reviewing our framework to ensure our fundraising is safe for both our fundraisers and the public when we start back up again.

If you would like more information please email our Supporters team on

If you’d like to donate to support our work to make walking and cycling easier, check out our donation page.

Events led by Sustrans

We have cancelled all Sustrans-led meetings and events, including those in partnership with others.

Where possible, we're arranging for meetings and events to take place virtually or remotely via video links and phone calls.


Thank you for your continued support

For over 40 years, Sustrans has worked towards a vision of a society where the way we travel creates healthier and happier lives for everyone.

We're very grateful to all the volunteers and individuals who have supported and continue to support Sustrans.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation carefully. We’ll be taking advice from the Government, Public Health England and partners.


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