GOLF courses and parks in East Lancashire were expecting to have busy weekends after coronavirus restrictions were relaxed on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Sunday for stage one of removing the lockdown which included daily visits to golf courses, tennis courts and unlimited time spells at parks as long as social distancing rules were applied.

Neil Hutchinson from Burnley Leisure, who runs Towneley Golf Course said they were impressed with 150 people on the first day of re-opening the greens.

He said: “It was quite busy as it is pretty much the only thing that is open with sports and leisure sports wise. People have not played for 12 months because they are busy but they are not working or been on furlough and have got time on their hands.

“We had to have a booking system as there is a maximum of two people on the hole. We are only a charity and as the bar and bistro are closed we need money coming back into the club.

“We had to bring some people off furlough to come and make sure the course could open.

"We have also seen more people walking around the park (Towneley) which is great for mental health."

Leader of Burnley Council, Cllr Charlie Briggs added it was good news for people to be trying to return to normal.

He said: “It is fantastic and I hope that the people of Burnley go down to the many parks in the area such as Scott Park, Ightenhill and Towneley in this good weather but I hope that they keep by social distancing rules and enjoy it.”

Anthony Woods of Baxenden Golf Club, said their course has been busy with people enjoying the weather.

He said: "We are only a small club with our nine holes but have had about 50 people down each day so far and have been busy. It has made a lot of people happy managing to get back out on the course - obviously with social distancing and everyone has been great respecting the rules with two people per hole. I think they just appreciate being able to get back down and actually play some golf.There have been some of them saying they are a bit rusty because they have not played even I have been a bit rusty but we will get the hang of it again.

"Other courses such as Accrington have been busy and we have even had people asking to play."

Anthony said that some work has been carried out on footpaths and people have already enjoyed them.

He added: "We have had some of our older members have messaged us to say they were staying away because of the government advice and saying how they could not wait to get back."