Lockdown is slowly lifting, spring is springing and the eager feeling of getting back outside and into the countryside is itching away inside so many of us I’m sure.
I thought now was the perfect time to remind ourselves of the Countryside Code and how we can all make sure the rolling hills, stony footpaths, and flowing rivers can be enjoyed by us all when we all play our part.
There are lots of people, animals, nature and wildlife that all want to share this space, and we need to ensure that is possible.
I think the most important thing for us all to remember is respect.
That is respect for those living and working in the countryside but its also respect for those visiting the countryside too, and of course respect for nature itself.
Take a moment of your time to say hello to one another, comment on the weather (hopefully it’s sunny), and just strike up a conversation, you’ll be amazed to see the things that unfold from a simple passing by.
Please always close any gates that are closed when you pass through, don’t block any access to gates, fields or farms and most importantly stick to the marked footpaths within fields, this keeps you, your pets, livestock and workers safe.
Always remember to protect and look after the environment.
The countryside is beautiful because farmers are custodians of this land and play their part to work alongside nature whilst maintaining the natural beauty and helping it to thrive.
Please take your litter home, and always remember ‘leave no trace’ and don’t cause any damage or disturbance to wildlife and their habitats, this is their home and protecting that is the priority above anything else.
Please keep your dogs under control and preferably on lead, especially around livestock and in any protected areas to avoid minimal disruption for example; to ground nesting birds and newborn lambs.
The great outdoors is full of adventure waiting for us all, and it is great for your mental wellbeing too, especially after the last 12 months we have all endured, feeling very much locked in.
Plan ahead, be aware of the local conditions, check walking routes and the weather.
I promise you that the countryside is an even more enjoyable place when you are prepared and you can relax so much more.
Always remember that conditions can change quickly so always have emergency supplies or equipment at the ready, especially if you are heading out to more isolated and secluded places.
We all have a responsibility to care for and protect the beautiful countryside if we want it to be here for future generations.
We want it to be space that both locals and visitors can enjoy and where our wildlife is safe.
Remember the Countryside Code when out and about, and enjoy feeling the breeze through your hair, the sun on your skin, that amazing sense of freedom.