Landowners and farmers are the custodians of the countryside. They are crucial to maintaining the beautiful landscapes that people want to see and enjoy. Many are recognising the need to make the countryside more accessible with some taking up opportunities to support their efforts through current government schemes.
The Countryside Code offers landowner-specific advice which will be helpful for those living and working in rural areas, equipping them with additional tools and knowledge to smoothly manage increased public interest to green spaces. We know there is often confusion over rights and responsibilities when it comes to public rights of way and it is something we provide guidance and advice on.
It is vital that landowners, visitors and government work together in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation. Visitors have a right to access public rights of way and landowners and farmers have a right to run their businesses safely. There is no reason why the two groups cannot support one another.
Unfortunately, a lack of education on how to treat the countryside has left a generation without sufficient understanding of what is an acceptable standard of behaviour in a working environment that produces food for the nation.
We are pleased to have played our part in the revamping of the entire Countryside Code with Natural England, and will continue working towards making access to the countryside more enjoyable for all concerned. We were delighted to work with LEAF Education during 2021 to launch our free Countryside Code resource packs for teachers which can be downloaded below. We hope this will help engage and educate the next generation about the importance of responsible access to the countryside.