Motorists and families have been urged to stay away from the North York Moors after long queues of cars packed its roads over the weekend.

While leaving home for exercise is permitted, Government guidance reads: "This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area."

A video shared by the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation on Sunday (January 10) showed a long line of motorists queuing up along Blakey Ridge in the snow.

Tina Brough from the Organisation said that there was a “mass influx” of vehicles, with people out sledding, walking and parked on the side of the road.

“The local shop said they’d been so busy with non-local people,” she said. “I would say people had travelled at least 20 miles.

“What is really, really hurting the locals is the fact we weren’t a high-risk area before we went into national lockdown. Up until just before Christmas pubs were open, shops were open. And yet you see all of this.

“It’s heartbreaking really. We don’t want to be killjoys, it’s just common sense and I don’t think people are using that. Is it genuinely the right thing to do?”

Last week, the North York Moors National Park Authority urged prospective visitors to stay away after the national lockdown was introduced.

“With a national lockdown now in place, we urge everyone to stay at home and not to travel into the North York Moors National Park unless it is absolutely essential,” said Tom Hind, the chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority.

“If you are heading out for your daily exercise, remember this must be done locally and in open spaces as close to your own home as possible. Nobody should be travelling for leisure.”

How far can you travel for exercise?

It came as Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said he would “absolutely back the police” amid accusations of overzealous enforcement by some officers.

Derbyshire Police last week fined Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore £200 each for meeting up five miles from their home for a walk with a coffee.

A spokesman for the force said Ms Allen and Ms Moore’s actions were “clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel”.

Ministers are understood to be considering further limits on exercise rules which could prohibit people from different households meeting up for a walk or run.