New Countryside Code highlights sharing the space, making memories and protecting the environment
22nd April 2021
This month saw the launch of a new, refreshed Countryside Code from Natural England, with the aim of updating the guidance for those visiting and enjoying the countryside.
The refreshed Countryside Code encourages all ages to get out into green spaces, whilst doing so in a safe and respectful way that doesn’t damage the precious environment or cause issues for local communities and other visitors. 70 years on from the launch of the first Countryside Code in 1951, the new guidelines come at a time when more people than ever before are discovering the health and wellbeing benefits of being in nature.
Particular updates to the revised Countryside Code include advice for people to ‘be nice, say hello, share the space’, ‘enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory’, and reminders to keep to footpaths and bridleways and not to feed wild animals or livestock. There are also clearer rules for dog walkers around cleaning up after their animal and ensuring dogs are kept under control around livestock. Another change is the addition of information around permissions to undertake activities, such as wild swimming.
It has also been made clear that the Countryside Code applies to all places in nature, including parks, waterways, the coast and countryside.
Featuring in a new short film that has been made to coincide with the launch, Surrey Hills farmer, Paula Matthews from Manor Farm in Wotton near Dorking, speaks of the impact of visitors on the working countryside and the importance of respecting the environment around us. She says:
“The Countryside Code gives help and advice to plan for a safe and enjoyable visit to the Countryside, whilst remembering that it’s a place of work; growing food for us all to eat and providing habitats and quiet areas to protect and enrich wildlife and biodiversity in the Surrey Hills”.
To view the newly updated Countryside Code, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code