Thousands of people will head out into our beautiful countryside over the Easter bank holidays, so the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has issued a list of top tips to ensure visitors enjoy rural areas responsibly.
CLA South East, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Berkshire and the Isle of Wight, welcomes the influx but is encouraging people to plan their visits and consider wildlife and the environment.
Here are the Top 10 tips to help make sure visits are stress-free, safe and responsible:
- Stick to footpaths and bridleways, and respect other rights of way users
- Don’t leave personal items on display in cars
- Leave gates how you find them
- Take litter and leftover food home or use the bins provided
- Keep dogs under control, and be particularly careful around livestock
- Don’t block gateways, driveways or paths with your vehicle
- When riding a bike or driving, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals, and give them plenty of room
- Leave machinery and farm animals alone – don’t interfere with animals
- Be careful with naked flames and cigarettes as fires can be devastating to wildlife and habitats
- 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.
Megan Lock, CLA South East Rural Adviser, said:
“The spirit of the Countryside Code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there are a few worrying trends that are either based on anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside.
“Common problems include littering, fly-tipping and mismanaging dogs. Accessing the fresh air and getting close to nature have widely researched health and wellbeing benefits, but visitors and their dogs need to act responsibly, as livestock worrying can be a real issue.
“Thefts from vehicles often tend to increase during the spring and summer months, and leaving valuables on display or windows down is an open invitation for thieves.
“Landowners welcome visitors to share in the natural and farmer-shaped beauty of our countryside. Following the Countryside Code, and using common sense and courtesy, is an easy way for visitors to help do their bit.”