This was the scene at a popular west Dorset beauty spot the first day lockdown restrictions were eased.

Beach Road in West Bexington was clogged with cars as crowds flocked to the beach the day after the Government relaxed its ‘stay at home’ rules.

Although new guidance means people are permitted to spend more time outside, authorities are still strongly pushing a ‘think twice’ message and Dorset Council’s car parks - along with its public toilets near beaches and beauty spots, as well as its country parks - have remained closed.

Despite the message, 'honey pot' areas like West Bexington came under pressure when lockdown rules were relaxed.

West Bay coastguards out on patrol noted there were locations across the area, including West Bexington, where access was hampered due to parked cars and, should there have been an emergency, there would have been restricted access to coastguard, fire and ambulance vehicles.

As a result, The Beach car park West Bexington has reopened and Dorset Council is expected to make an announcement on its other car parks soon.

Although the car park is open, the public is urged not to overwhelm the area’s beauty spots and the ‘think twice’ message is being reinforced ahead of the upcoming bank holiday weekend.

The idea is to deter visitors to the county at this time. Dorset currently has one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in the country and the majority of residents have followed the Government’s ‘stay at home’ advice over the past few weeks.

Although rules have been relaxed, authorities are asking people from other areas of the country with higher infection rates not to visit right now and run the risk of spreading the virus to local communities.

Visitors are urged to use common sense and to ‘think twice’ before rushing to the county.

Beaches at West Bay, Lyme and Swanage all reported being busy last week but Dorset Council says they were not ‘swamped’ and claims traffic levels were 40 per cent down compared to regular Sundays pre-lockdown.

The latest Government guidelines prohibits people from staying overnight at any place that isn’t your main home, and Dorset Council is asking people not to visit second homes and holiday accommodation right now in a bid to help to continue keeping the virus under control in the county.

Dorset County Hospital chief executive Patricia Miller tweeted her concern about busier roads and food stalls open on Weymouth Beach, saying: “A second peak would be difficult for the NHS to manage. Please continue to social distance and wash your hands. We all need to stay safe and well.”

Chief Operating Officer at DCH, Inese Robotham, said: “We are really thankful to the public for following the government guidelines over the past few months and for staying home as much as possible.

“Our staff have been working incredibly hard during what has been a challenging and ever-changing period.

“Looking ahead to the bank holiday weekend, we would ask the public to think twice before travelling unnecessarily to help protect the NHS and save lives.

“We would also like to remind the public we are here for you in an emergency.”