Resource pack launched at Devon County Show to educate young generation on the Countryside Code

CLA and LEAF have teamed up to educate children how to act safely and responsibly in the countryside with the launch of a new resource pack.

Designed by the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) and LEAF Education, the teaching materials are aimed at teachers and youth group leaders to communicate crucial messages to Key Stage 2 pupils about the Countryside Code.

The resource pack was launched by Director South West, Ann Maidment, at the South West CLA’s Political breakfast at the Devon County Show. The breakfast was attended by key speaker, Secretary of State for Defra, George Eustice, Neil Parish MP and Chairman of EFRA Select Committee and MP for East Devon, Simon Jupp along with 175 other guests.

The code’s messages of respecting everyone, protecting the environment and enjoying the outdoors are highlighted in these packs through a list of fun-filled activities including a soil investigator’s exercise, sky lantern role play activity and waymarker memory game.

It is hoped these packs will help children and young adults understand that safe and responsible behaviour in the countryside is fundamental to enjoyment of it.

Victoria Vyvyan, Vice President of the CLA which represents 28,000 farmers, land managers and rural businesses across England and Wales, said:

The British countryside is famed the world over for its beauty. It's no wonder millions of people every year visit rural communities for holidays and day trips. But the countryside is a working environment, where farmers and land managers work tirelessly to produce world-class food with high environmental and animal welfare standards – and it’s important young people, in particular, learn to enjoy their time in rural areas safely and responsibly. These resource packs will enable teachers and group leaders to put fun and engaging lessons plans together on the Countryside Code so children can put what they learn into practice.

Ann Maidment, Director, CLA South West said:

We were delighted to launch these resource packs at our Political Breakfast at the Devon County Show. We had an influential audience there who will no doubt appreciate the importance of education surrounding the Countryside Code and appropriate behaviour in rural areas, but also, what these packs will mean for the education of our future generations. The south west region is a popular destination for visitors, we’ve seen first-hand the impact that irresponsible behaviour can have on the countryside, from litter, wildfires caused by disposable BBQ’s, livestock worrying and dog fouling and irresponsible parking. These educational packs offer young people the opportunity to not only enjoy what the countryside has to offer, but will provide them with the tools to understand where their food comes from and the importance of protecting the environment.

Carl Edwards, Director of Leaf Education, said:

LEAF Education is delighted to have been able to work with the CLA on the production of these resources. Together we believe it is incredibly important that young people learn from an early age about the important messages in the Countryside Code. The earlier young people experience the joy of the countryside, the greater their chance of developing a life-long enjoyment and respect of the environment around them. Supporting teachers through these curriculum linked resources will not only help them in delivering an understanding of how the countryside works, but also help their pupils translate the importance of how to respect, protect and enjoy first their local environment and then the wider countryside.

The code, which was first introduced in 1951, was recently refreshed following a rise in the number of visitors to the countryside during the pandemic.

The CLA continues to lobby theEducation Secretary Gavin Williamson to include the code as part of the school curriculum.

The pack is free to download and is also available on the Countryside Classroom - a website regularly used by teachers seeking materials related to rural affairs.