Staying up to code

National Access Adviser, Sophie Dwerryhouse, reflects on why the CLA is promoting the Countryside Code ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Ahead of the three-day weekend, and more promising weather, we would like to take this opportunity once again to promote the Countryside Code and highlight the simple, yet important messages, it contains.

The Countryside Code gives advice to visitors about how to enjoy a visit to the countryside safely and responsibly under its headings: Respect, Protect, Enjoy.

We all appreciate the health and wellbeing benefits of enjoying the countryside and green spaces. However, what lockdown has highlighted is a lack of understanding of how to behave in the countryside. Sadly, antisocial behaviour continues to be widely reported; examples range from littering, fires, irresponsible parking on verges and in gateways to gates being left open and dogs chasing livestock. The impact such actions can have not only include harm to farm animals, wildlife and the environment but can also create unnecessary conflict between visitors and those living and working in rural areas. Farmers and landowners welcome responsible visitors but it is vital, in what is a working environment, visitors, land managers and their animals are kept safe.

The CLA has written to the Secretary of State for Education requesting that teaching of the Countryside Code becomes part of the curriculum. Meanwhile, we continue to lobby for greater education about the countryside, the environment and nature.

We have been busy promoting and raising awareness of the Countryside Code through the press and by talking to, and encouraging others, to assist from Defra and Natural England to MPs and members. We would urge everyone to continue with their efforts and momentum, particularly during this busy harvest time.

How to get involved?

The CLA has produced a series of infographics which promote the Countryside Code and can be downloaded and shared on social media here