Louise Metcalfe at Usha Gap campsite, Muker

Louise Metcalfe at Usha Gap campsite, Muker

Businesses in the Yorkshire Dales are looking forward to welcoming visitors when Covid-19 restrictions are eased on Monday.

One campsite owner said having people back will make things feel more normal.

Bunk barns, campsites, hotels, hostels and bed-and-breakfast hosts in the national park are preparing to open as the coronavirus lockdown eases.

Among them is Usha Gap campsite near the village of Muker in Swaledale. Louise Metcalfe, who runs the facility, said after cutting the grass on the camping fields: “I’m quite nervous but excited.

“I can’t wait to get back into it. We get lovely people and we’ve missed having that contact with visitors. We just want people back – to make it feel a bit more normal.”

The site lies close to the Pennine Way and A Pennine Journey long-distance path, as well as the Coast to Coast route and is an ideal place for stargazing in the core area of the Yorkshire Dales dark sky reserve.

Ms Metcalfe said: “You can find peacefulness and tranquillity here, and wherever you look the scenery is amazing. People love to hear the birds and wildlife.

“When we were able to open for a time in July last year it was like a bank holiday every weekend. People were in such good humour. Hopefully it will be like that again. I’ve noticed people are booking for longer, often four or five days rather than two.”

Upper Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Upper Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The national park authority’s member champion for promoting understanding, Kevin Frea, said: “I would like to wish every success to people like Louise who are reopening their hospitality businesses after working hard to make them Covid secure.

“And to those people who have waited patiently to return to the Yorkshire Dales national park, or are coming for the first time – welcome.

“There are not only camping pitches or quality hotel and B&B rooms on offer in the national park, but also pods, yurts and shepherd’s huts. I do hope people will come for a stay not just for the day, and spend money locally and support local businesses.”

The authority has also fully re-opened its national park visitor centres, with information advisers standing by to help people plan their visit.

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