SPORTS facilities across Oxfordshire reopen this week as England reaches the next stage of its roadmap out of lockdown.

From today, groups of up to six people are allowed to meet outside and that includes the reopening of outdoor leisure.

Facilities including outdoor gyms, swimming pools, courts, pitches and golf courses, can all welcome back.

Hinksey Heights GC, for example, is offering golf, footgolf and takeaway refreshments.

About a mile away, Hinksey Outdoor Pool reopens today, earlier in the year than normal, as it becomes one of Oxford City Council’s first leisure facilities to come back into use.

Meanwhile, larger groups of people can take part in formally-organised outdoor sport, with no limit on numbers for children’s activities.

This includes grassroots football, which can restart for adults and Under 18s without being subject to the rule of six.

The Witney & District FA is wasting no time in getting back on to the pitch, with a shortened cup competition beginning this Saturday.

A total of 44 participating teams have been split into six groups, with games taking place over the next five Saturdays and some midweeks.

The finals are scheduled to take place on May 8.

Meanwhile, the North Berks League has put clubs into three divisions for its mini-season, which starts next Saturday – the same weekend as the Oxfordshire Senior League’s cup competition.

Elsewhere, plenty of the county’s rugby clubs return to adapted training for the first time in more than three months.

As stated in the Rugby Football Union (RFU)’s return to community rugby roadmap, these can be contact sessions, although scrums and mauls are not allowed.

National League 1 side Chinnor welcome their senior squad back to Kingsey Road on Tuesday evening, with the women’s, juniors and minis sides following later in the week.

Director of rugby Richard Thorpe said: “With everything that’s going on with the vaccination programme and the government roadmap, this feels like it could finally be a return to business as usual at Kingsey Road.

“With that just comes pure excitement at the prospect of rugby players finally being able to play rugby again – it’s great.”

Several other clubs will bring back senior and junior squads this week, although friendlies without scrums or mauls are banned until April 26 at the earliest.

Wallingford have taken the opportunity to expand their girls’ rugby section and are inviting new players to a launch event at Wallingford Sports Park on April 18.

The government roadmap also says that organised sport participation events, such as races and organised walks, can take place outdoors and are exempt from legal gathering limits.

All this comes with the reminder that social distancing rules must be maintained before and after physical activity.

Changing rooms should not be used, with indoor sports facilities and gyms remaining closed until restrictions ease.