Enjoy the countryside responsibly this festive period, urges CLA

New plea for public to follow the Countryside Code
Footpath image2.jpg
Footpath sign in Suffolk

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging visitors to the countryside this festive period to respect the Countryside Code which helps to protect beautiful British landscapes so that everyone is able enjoy their visit to the full.

The CLA, which represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural business across England and Wales is urging the walkers, cyclists and horse riders to stick to public rights of way, keep dogs under control and take their litter home.

CLA East Acting Regional Director Nick Sandford said: 

Landowners and farmers are the custodians of the countryside and have done a great job keeping the food in our shops throughout this difficult year. They are also crucial to maintaining the beautiful landscapes that people want to see and enjoy. 

Nick Sandford

“We welcome visitors to share this beauty but ask that you respect the countryside as a place of work and a sanctuary for wildlife when enjoying a day out. It is important to stick to public rights of way.

“Getting out and enjoying the countryside is a festive tradition but it is vital that dog owners understand their responsibilities. Dogs can attack livestock if they are not under control and it is devastating if sheep are wounded or killed. Dog fouling can cause disease to be spread so we urge everyone to clear up any mess caused by their pets.

“The Countryside Code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there can be incidents of anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside. All visitors should be conscious that the countryside is a place of work where the land, livestock, machinery, wildlife and environment must be respected.”

Top tips to help you enjoy your visit to the countryside over the festive period

Please keep your dog on a lead if you are anywhere near livestock. Even the best-trained family pet can chase sheep and wildlife if not kept under close control. Always clear up after your dog.

Fly-tipping is a blight on the landscape and can cost more than £800 per incident to clear away and all at the farmer’s expense. But so is litter such as cans, bottles, food and takeaway wrappers that have to be cleared up by the farmers. Please ensure you take your litter home with you and dispose of bulky waste through proper legal channels.

When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals and give them plenty of room. By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways.

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside in England and Wales. It aims to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy the outdoors. Follow the Countryside Code here.