Our work on access

Following a refresh of the 70-year-old Countryside Code, CLA National Access Adviser Sophie Dwerryhouse provides an update on the Associations work around access, including reviewing guidance and plans for regional roadshows

At last, the sun has come out. Lambs are appearing in fields, and in step with the easing of lockdown restrictions and the Easter break, it finally feels like spring has arrived.  It has never been so welcome.

The fact that we will see visitors return to rural areas in anticipated high numbers unsurprisingly raises some concerns among government, stakeholders and members alike, particularly with lambing in full swing and considering the significant increase in dog ownership during the pandemic.

The CLA has written and promoted advice for new dog owners wishing to walk their dogs in the countryside, which has been featured in national, regional and trade press. Find out more about our advice.

Many of you will know the work we have been doing concerning the Countryside Code over the last 12 months, notably promoting and raising awareness of the Code but also pushing for the Code to become part of the school curriculum. We will continue to lobby for greater education about the countryside, the environment and nature. We are also working with LEAF to produce resource packs for teachers, which we hope to share with members in due course.

As a key stakeholder, we have been heavily involved in work with Natural England on the long-awaited refresh of the Countryside Code, and are pleased that it has been approved by Defra and relaunched today, 1st April. 

Aside from our work on the Countryside Code, many members joined us recently for a popular livestock and access webinar.

Additionally, we plan to host regional access roadshows for members during April and May. Please contact your regional office for more information about these events.

We have been reviewing the guidance available to members through our guidance notes. Over the next few months, we will be releasing new guidance notes on a range of access areas from rights and maintenance responsibilities and public path orders to how to deal with mapping and ‘app’ issues and unauthorised encampments.

We continue to urge those visiting the countryside to do so responsibly and respectfully, and we are available to help members with any queries.