With the August bank holiday on the horizon, CLA South East urges public to enjoy countryside responsibly

CLA releases top 10 tips for visitors to rural areas
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Please stick to footpaths and bridleways, take rubbish home with you, and respect other users of the rights of way

Thousands of people will flock to our beautiful countryside over the August bank holiday weekend, to make the most of the last public holiday before Christmas.

CLA South East, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight, welcomes the influx of visitors but is urging the public to enjoy rural areas responsibly and follow the Countryside Code.

Stick to footpaths and bridleways, take rubbish home with you, and respect other users of the rights of way. Do not leave personal items on display in cars; thefts from vehicles often tend to increase during the summer months and leaving valuables on display or windows down is an open invitation for thieves.

Michael Valenzia, Regional Director at CLA South East, said: “The August bank holiday weekend can be a glorious time to get out into our stunning countryside.

“All we ask is for visitors to follow the Countryside Code. Accessing the fresh air and getting close to nature have widely researched health and wellbeing benefits, but visitors and dog owners need to act responsibly.

“Please don’t stray from footpaths and bridleways, leave gates how you find them, take rubbish home and keep dogs under control.

“Using common sense and courtesy will mean your trip is fun, safe and responsible.”

Here are our top 10 tips:

1) Stick to footpaths and bridleways, and respect other rights of way users

2) Don’t leave personal items on display in cars

3) Leave gates how you find them

4) Take litter and leftover food home or use the bins provided

5) Keep dogs under control, and be particularly careful around livestock

6) Don’t block gateways, driveways or paths with your vehicle

7) When riding a bike or driving, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals, and give them plenty of room

8) Leave machinery and farm animals alone – don’t interfere with animals

9) Be careful with naked flames and cigarettes as fires can be devastating to wildlife and habitats

10) Plan ahead and be prepared – take a map in case you have no phone signal, check the weather forecast before heading out and carry water with you.

What the CLA is doing

The CLA has recently written to the Education Secretary calling for the Countryside Code to be added to the national curriculum, and has also teamed up with LEAF Education to create resource packs for schools to use.

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east/regional-news and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.