MEASURES are being taken to ensure river safety at a popular Tyne Valley beauty spot.

The closure of sports and leisure facilities during lockdown led to a surge in visitors to Hexham’s Tyne Green Country Park.

There has been an increase in people using the area’s stretch of the River South Tyne for swimming and other recreational activities, such as bodyboarding.

Even though the district’s leisure facilities have reopened, swimming pools at Haltwhistle and Prudhoe remain closed, and Hexham’s pool, at Wentworth Leisure Centre, is currently open for members only.

Demand for the river at Tyne Green therefore remains high, but swimmers have come into contact with rowing, canoeing, and paddleboard club members who are based at the location, leading to safety concerns.

Hexham Rowing Club’s Kevin Oates said: “We are well aware that our clubs do not own the river. It’s great to see people coming to Tyne Green. This is a beautiful stretch of water and why wouldn’t people want to use it?

“We just want to improve communication between all river users, so there are no risks to swimmers when boats and canoes are in the river.”

Mr Oates said the clubs based at Tyne Green were exploring ways of promoting river safety, and had considered putting up signs advertising times when they are scheduled to use the river. He added: “We need to use this 800m stretch of water, up and down, at Tyne Green. There’s not another suitable location. Communication is key so we can all share the river, but at different times, in the safest way possible.”

Kathie Keady, sports development manager at Active Northumberland, said: “Tyne Green is a wonderful location and we want everyone who uses the river to do so safely. We want to raise awareness of other river users and encourage good river etiquette.”