Swindon Borough Council was accused of encouraging people to flout coronavirus lockdown rules after they posted advice on Facebook about using municipal parks over the weekend.

A post on the social media site attracted criticism.

One woman blasted: “So wrong! Close them! You are actually encouraging people to go there in groups as they won't stick to the rules! You are so so wrong in keeping them open!!! You can't trust people!!!!!!! You will be putting extra unnecessary strain and stress on our police and NHS!!!”

Another woman added: “It's tough enough for people to stay at home in this current weather. Let's rub it in and add temptation to the mix. Some people will view this as encouragement to visit parks!”

The council's post read: “All our parks remain open for exercise this bank holiday weekend for those within walking distance but car parks are closed at Lydiard, Coate, Barbury and Stanton and we would ask no one to drive to any parks.

“The play areas and food outlets in our parks are closed, as official guidance dictates.

“A big thank you to the vast majority of people who have so far been following these rules – have a great bank holiday weekend everybody!”

The borough urged people to maintain social distancing rules.

Councils were told last weekend by the communities secretary Robert Jenrick that closing parks should only be a last resort. It followed criticism of local authorities in London that had shut green spaces over fears too many people were congregating in them.