Countryside code

9/6/2021 3:08:47 PM

Please take care to respect and protect the outdoors as well as enjoy it.

Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs:

  • Get up-to-date information of the area
  • Be prepared for changes in weather and other events
  • Check weather conditions before you leave, and don't be afraid to turn back
  • Get to know the signs and symbols used in the countryside

Leave gates and property as you find them:

  • Leave gates as you find them
  • If you think a sign is illegal or misleading such as a 'Private No Entry' sign on a public footpath, contact us 
  • In fields where crops are growing, follow the paths wherever possible. Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries rather than climbing over walls, hedges and fences
  • Be careful not to disturb ruins and historic sites
  • Leave machinery and livestock alone

Care for the environment:

  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats (cigarettes can cause fire)
  • Litter and leftover food spoil the countryside and can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals
  • Discover the beauty of the natural environment and take special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees
  • Do not get too close to wild and farm animals especially if they are with young

Keep dogs under close control:

  • By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife
  • Keep your dogs on short lead (no more than 2 metres long) on most open country areas and common land between 1 March and 31 July and all year round near farm animals
  • Keep your dogs under close control on the public paths especially in the field where there are animals.
  • There is no definition of 'close control', it generally mean that a dog responds to commands and is kept close at heel. If your dog wanders off out of sight and doesn't come back when called, then it should be walked on a lead.
  • If farm animals attack you, let the dog go
  • Take particular care during lambing season and nesting seasons for ground birds
  • Clean up after your dog and dispute of the mess responsibly
  • At certain times, dogs may not be allowed or need to be on a lead on some areas of access land. Phone the Open Access Contact Centre on 0845 100 3298 for more information.

Consider other people:

  • Leave your vehicle at home where possible. Share lifts and use public transport or cycle. For public transport information, phone Traveline on 0871 2002233
  • Respect the needs of local people, don't block gateways or driveways with your vehicle
  • Keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer
  • When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down for horses, walkers and livestock and give them plenty of room. By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse-riders on bridleways
  • Support the rural economy eg buy your supplies from local shops


For more guidance on how to enjoy our parks, waterways and countryside responsibly please see GOV.UK's advice for countryside visitors.

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