Sustrans and Covid-19

Last updated 13 May 2021

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.

Read the latest advice for:


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


Bike shops near me

Our interactive map shows all of the interactive bike shops that are currently open across the UK. 

It also shows all the offers on bike services and equipment available to key workers during the pandemic.

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).

You can also take part in formally organised outdoor sports or licensed physical activity with any number of people.

This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment.

You should minimise travel where possible.

This means you should avoid making unnecessary trips and combine trips where possible.

If you need to travel:

  • Walk or cycle where possible
  • Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble
  • Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport
  • Regularly wash or sanitise your hands
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, unless exempt
  • Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)


Bike stores remain open.


Those in Scotland can now travel throughout the United Kingdom.

You can meet people from other households outdoors in a private garden, or a public place outdoors.

The maximum number of people who can meet outdoors is 4 which can be from up to 2 separate households.

2m physical distancing should be maintained between members of different households.

Up to six people from two households can socialise indoors in a public place such as a cafe or a restaurant. 

For adults, organised outdoor non-contact sports, exercise, personal training and coaching are permitted.

It is advised that these activities take place in groups of up to 15 people (including coaches and instructors), providing appropriate guidance is followed.

Outdoor contact sports are not permitted, except for professional sport. 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, there are no travel restrictions in place within the country.

There are no legal restrictions on sport, exercise and outdoor activity, however people are advised not to take unnecessary risks while exercising or taking part in any activity.

You can exercise in public outdoor places with:

  • members of your household or support bubble, or
  • with people from one other household, as long as the total number of people exercising is no more than six (excluding any carers or children under 11 from either of those households), and you remain outdoors

In addition to this children and young people aged under 18 (or persons who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020) can take part in organised outdoor activities, which could include organised sport activities, where they are held outdoors.

People should ensure they maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.  

And in Northern Ireland, since 1 April, up to six people from two households can meet in a private garden.

Where travel is necessary for work, education and other essential purposes, you are asked to walk, cycle or use private transport, shared only with members of your household where possible.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place by yourself, with people you live with, with your bubble, or, when on your own, with one person from another household.

You should not travel more than 10 miles from your home to exercise.

Up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can take part in outdoor sports activities.


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

Sustrans has started to support small group volunteering activities on a case by case approach.

We are also continuing to support our volunteers to carry out small actions on the National Cycle Network.

These actions include:

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

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

Fundraising on the Network has now restarted, so say hello if you spot any of our fundraisers on your local paths.

We've undertaken detailed risk assessments to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19 and to help keep our fundraisers and the public safe.

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

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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