The Countryside Code is applicable to all of us who use the UK’s luscious countryside. Birdwatchers, dog walkers, astronomers and land managers alike have a shared responsibility to protect, respect and thoroughly enjoy Britain’s greenery. Take a look through this quick guide before your next session with those new bird watching binoculars or nightly astronomical telescope excursion!
The code is set into four public sections:
Be safe, plan ahead and follow signs – Understanding access rights, checking weather conditions, mobile phone reception (and battery!), visitors centre locations, map markers, sign meanings and so on; it’s pretty much all common sense, but sometimes we could all do with a little reminder.
Leave gates and property as you find them – Much of the UK’s public countryside passes through or close to private land and farms. Open gates, closed gates, stiles etc are all in place for a reason. If particularly concerned about an open gate/distressed animal etc, try to contact the farmer or local authority.
Protect plants and animals, and take litter home – Long before we stared shopping for astronomical telescopes and bird watching binoculars, we all went to school and learned not to be litter bugs! Always take items foreign to the countryside home (this includes leftover jam sandwiches!) Public fires are banned for good reason; fragile ecosystems can be detrimentally affected.
Keeps dogs under control – In many parts of the countryside it’s illegal to let your dog off the leash. Farmers are within their legal rights to destroy a dog that harms their livestock. Always pick up your dog’s “business” and avoid the countryside if your dog isn’t wormed, as it could easily pass on the infection.