The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code has been updated on the 1 April 2021 to reflect the best practices around visiting the countryside and protecting the natural environment, both safely and enjoyably. This upgrade has been conducted by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales to coincide with there 70th anniversary.

This update has been shaped by nearly 4,000 stakeholder responses to an online survey, which sought views on best practices for visiting the countryside and protecting the natural environment. The key changes include advice on creating a welcoming environment, underlining the importance of clearing away dog poo. Plus the importance of staying on footpaths, not feeding livestock and seeking permission for activities such as swimming and camping.

A refreshed tone has been used in creating a guide for the public rather than a list of rules – recognising the significant health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature. Additionally, making it clear that the code applies to all our natural places, including parks and waterways, coast and countryside.

This is a precis for what is in the code:

Respect everyone

  • be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
  • leave gates and property as you find them
  • do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
  • be nice, say hello, share the space
  • follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available

Protect the environment

  • take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit
  • take care with BBQs and do not light fires
  • always keep dogs under control and in sight
  • dog poo – bag it and bin it – any public waste bin will do
  • care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance

Enjoy the outdoors

  • check your route and local conditions
  • plan your adventure – know what to expect and what you can do
  • enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory
  • Check your rights and gain permission to camp, swim, fish

Know the signs and symbols of the countryside

Follow advice on local signs as landowners voluntarily provide access to these paths and choose who can use them. Some open access areas are also made available in the same way.

National Trails are created for walking, with horseriding and cycling possible on some trails or trail section

You can walk and explore away from paths.

For further information visit:

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