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Natural England has announced a refresh to the Countryside Code to coincide with the Easter holiday and many of us getting out to enjoy the outdoors.
The press release reads:
Working on the refresh throughout the winter, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have considered the needs of the public, as well as farmers, site managers and all other users of the countryside. The main takeaway is the new ‘Respect, Protect and Enjoy’ messaging that encapsulates the overall adaptations to the code and what it means for those of us who like being outdoors.
What does this mean for riders?
Aside from the expected etiquette whilst being in outdoor spaces, the updates to the code say:
- You should slow down and stop for horses, walkers and livestock and give them plenty of room.
- Cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways.
- Cyclists and horse riders should respect walkers’ safety.
- Walkers should take care not to obstruct or endanger cyclists or horse riders.
What does the code say?
The outdoors are for everyone and should be respected and looked after. The main things to adhere to when outdoors are:
- Be nice, say hello and share the space.
- Take your litter home, leave no trace of your visit.
- Always keep dogs on a lead and under control. Always bag and bin dog poo.
- Plan your adventure, always check your route and local conditions.
- Know your signs, always check if you have rights of access along your route.
- Leave gates and property as you find them.
- Make sure you stick to marked routes and footpaths.
This is the first update to the code in a decade. The first code, released in 1951 has now been updated following a survey of over 4000 people. In a joint release from Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, Natural England chair, Tony Juniper said, “with more people than ever before seeking solace in nature, this refresh could not come at a more crucial time. We want everyone to be aware of the Code, so people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the invaluable health and wellbeing benefits that nature offers while giving it the respect it deserves.”
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