The National Trust this evening has responded to concerns raised on social media regarding the ‘closure of Portstewart Strand to cars this winter’.
In a statement to Causeway Coast Community, a spokesperson for the National Trust said “As custodians of Portstewart Strand we need to balance public access with visitor safety and the protection and management of this important nature reserve.
“Now more than ever we understand the importance of spending time in nature and Portstewart Strand is open daily from dawn to dusk for walkers to enjoy free access to the beach and dune walks.
“However, the National Trust is facing huge financial losses brought on by the COVID pandemic and our charity’s resources are stretched. This is forcing us to make some difficult decisions around the timing and extent to which we can operate car parking and facilities on the beach safely.
“During October, car parking and toilet facilities will open from 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday. We will keep the situation under review. Opening times beyond this will be published in advance on our website.
“There will continue to be a small area of the beach around the visitor hut kept open to allow local users and clientele from Harry’s Shack to park out of hours. This area includes three accessible parking spaces.
“To minimise traffic congestion in the area, we would ask people to take notice of the local parking restrictions put in place by Department of Infrastructure.
“During these challenging times our focus continues to be the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and the local community. We would encourage visitors to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that the car-free beach offers during this time and to continue to access the beach on foot.”