The Countryside Code

The Country Code is a standard set of guidelines for members of the public, to ensure respect and enjoyment in the countryside.

The five points of the Countryside Code are:

  1. Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs
    1. Take maps/guidebooks
    2. Be prepared for changes in weather
    3. Check the weather so you know what to expect
    4. Let someone know where you are going, how long you plan to be
    5. Learn signs and symbols used in the countryside
  2. Leave gates and property as you find them
    1. Farmers may leave gates open to allow their animals to move - so leave an open gate open, and a closed gate closed
    2. Contact the local authority if you see a sign which may be misleading or illegal (e.g. Private, no entry - on a public footpath)
    3. Follow paths where crops are growing
    4. Use gates or stiles if possible, rather than climbing walls or fences, to avoid damage
    5. Don't disturb ruins or historic sites
    6. Don't interfere with machinery or livestock
  3. Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
    1. Litter and leftover food spoils the beauty of the countryside
    2. Don't damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees
    3. Give wild animals and farm animals plenty of space as they can behave unpredictably
    4. Be careful not to drop matches or smouldering cigarettes.
  4. Keep dogs under close control
    1. By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife
    2. Farmers are, by law, entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals
    3. Always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly
  5. Consider other people
    1. Respect the needs of local people
    2. When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down for horses, walkers and livestock and give them plenty of room
    3. By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse-riders on bridleways
    4. Support the rural economy - for example, buy your supplies from local shops

These points are valid whether you're going for a quick walk, or are taking part in the National, Yorkshire, Welsh or Surrey Three Peaks Challenges.

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