The Countryside Code UK

THE COUNTRYSIDE CODE UK

Be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside. Leave gates and property as you find them. Do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking. Be nice, say hello, share the space. Follow local signs and keep to marked paths. It is your responsibility to abide by the rules.

Your actions can affect other people’s lives and livelihoods. Co-operate with people working in the countryside. Follow the farmer’s directions when animals are being moved or gathered.

This helps keep everybody safe.

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Leave gates as you find them and follow instructions on signs. When with a group, make sure the last person closes gates. Farmers close gates to keep animals in or leave them open to give access to food and water.

Do not interfere with farm machinery, horses or livestock. If you think a farm animal is in distress, try to contact the farmer. Give wild animals and livestock plenty of space. Their behaviour can be unpredictable, especially when they are with their young and you could get hurt as they will charge to protect their young.

Do not feed wild animals, or livestock.

Traffic on country roads can be dangerous to people and wildlife. Slow down and drive carefully on country roads. Make sure you do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking. Always leave access for emergency vehicles. Consider leaving your car at home when visiting the outdoors. You could use public transport instead as a preferred way of getting to your destination.

Find public transport information on the Travel line website.

Take extra care and stay alert where a right of way crosses a railway line. You can find guidance on safely using level crossings on the Network Rail website.

Always face oncoming traffic and follow The Highway Code when you walk on a road without pavements. If you have High Viz clothing, use it. You may come across a driver not paying attention, so be ready, always be alert.

When you’re spending time outdoors you could come across other users and animals. Slow down or stop for horses, walkers and livestock when driving or cycling. Always give them plenty of room.

Cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways.

Cyclists and horse riders should respect walkers’ safety, but walkers should also take care not to obstruct or endanger them in any way.

Use maps and local signs to help you find your way. Stay on marked paths, even if they’re muddy, unless wider access is available, such as on open access land. This helps to protect crops and wildlife.

Get to know the signs and symbols used in the countryside. They help you identify routes for different places in the countryside.

Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries where you can, but do not trespass. Climbing over boundaries can cause damage and put livestock at risk.

Take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit. Do not light fires and only have a BBQ where signs say you can. Always keep dogs under control and in sight. Dog muck – bag it and bin it, any public waste bin will do. Care for nature, do not cause damage or disturbance. We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside and open spaces for current and future generations.

Leave rocks, plants and trees as you find them and take care not to disturb wildlife including birds that nest on the ground. Do not disturb ruins or historic sites. Check your route and local conditions.

Plan your adventure – know what to expect and what you can do

Enjoy your visit, and have fun.

The outdoors is great for your well-being. It is a place for relaxation, peacefulness and activity. Whatever you like to do outdoors, you will enjoy it more if you prepare in advance.

Check weather forecasts before you set off. Conditions can change quickly on mountains and along the coast. Do not be afraid to turn back if conditions change when you’re out and about. Look up tide times before you leave to reduce the risk of getting cut off by rising tides. Some rivers are affected by tidal change, it’s not just the sea. Take care on slippery rocks and seaweed. Check the Environment Agency website for water quality and conditions, if you want to paddle, swim or enjoy the water. Tell someone else where you are going and when you expect to come back. In rural areas you may not see anyone for hours and phone signals are unreliable in many places. You are responsible for the safety of yourself, and others in your care. Make sure you have the skills and knowledge you need for your activity. Prepare for natural hazards, including weather changes, to stay safe. Make sure you take the right clothing and equipment for your planned activities.

This code sets out information about the rights of different users. For some activities you may need to get permission from the landowner, including: camping, swimming and fishing.

Enjoy yourself and make sure you have lots of fun.

More about the countryside codes Here

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