Do you know the Countryside Code? Most of us know the Highway Code, why don’t we see the Countryside Code being advertised more often? It’s all about respect. You wouldn’t intentionally litter the floors of your home or garden would you? So why do some people feel the need to desecrate the countryside we all know and love? It’s all about being respectful while protecting and enjoying the environment around us.
What’s the saying? Treat others how you would like to be treated. It is a mantra people should live by every day. And the outdoors is no exception.
Respect your surroundings. Don’t leave vehicles parked in silly places, make sure emergency vehicles can manoeuvre around you. No blocking gateways or access roads either.
Slow down for other road users, including horses and cyclists. Give a respectably wide berth.
Allow workers to get on with their work. Keep out of the way, and have patience with farmers and their vehicles.
Consider being more economical and sustainable with travel. Can you use public transport? Or even car share.
Leave gates as you find them, or follow signs as directed. Most of the time, gates need to be shut to protect livestock.
Follow signs as provided, try not to purposefully access private land or land that seems inaccessible.
Do not interfere with animals even if they seem distressed. Seek out a farmer to deal with the situation.
Protect natural structures and use gates, stiles and walkways properly. Do not climb on or over gates, fences or hedges.
The biggest message from the Countryside Code is to LEAVE NO TRACE.
Do not remove features such as trees, foliage or large rocks. These all provide natural habitats for wildlife.
Take ALL your litter home. If you can bring it with you, you can take it home. Dropping litter is a criminal offence and can seriously harm wildlife and it’s surroundings.
Any sort of fire on the ground is strictly prohibited. As the seasons change the summer brings dry conditions. A fire spreads quickly and can cause immeasurable devastation. NO naked flames and please, NO disposable barbecues.
Keep your dogs under control.
- Keep your dog on a lead to protect livestock and wildlife. Do not allow them to worry animals.
- OR – be confident that the dog can be recalled instantly and is within your sight at all times.
- Keep alert for signs that dogs may not be allowed in certain areas.
- Ensure it does not stray off the path where you do not have access.
- Clean up any dog mess and ensure your dog is wormed.
Bag It and Bin It.
These rules are all in place so that everybody can enjoy the outdoors responsibly and safely.
To be safe, make sure you plan your journey effectively. Have a look at this guide from Glynn over at onthehills.co.uk about competent planning. Make sure you are aware of any up to date changes such as parking, rights of way and opening times of facilities.
You are responsible for your own safety, plus the children in your party. Be aware of potential hazards and make sure you can access emergency services if needed.
Check the weather forecasts before you go out, and be aware that it can change unpredictably. It’s always best to have emergency supplies on hand for things like extreme heat or extreme cold.
Don’t rely on your phone. Make sure you have back up resources such as a portable charger or car charger. Even better, get familiar with map reading. Take a paper map with you and tell somebody where you are going and your route plan.
Know Your Signs
England has approximately 118,000 miles of public rights of way. Familiarise yourself with the coloured markers and signage. This will make your outings much more enjoyable and easier to navigate.
Handy Resources and Websites
Coast tides. https://www.tidetimes.co.uk/
National Trail. https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/
Public Rights of Way. https://prowexplorer.com/
Open Access Land Information. http://www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk/wps/portal/oasys/maps/MapSearch
Public Travel Information. https://www.traveline.info/
Navigation Courses. https://navtrek.org/