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Countryside code

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

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