Follow the Countryside Code

Walker on the coast path at East Soar, Devon

Enjoy spending time outside at the coast and countryside places we care for? You can help us to keep them safe and enjoyable by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

Issues such as littering, wildfires and fly-camping can all cause significant harm to landscapes and wildlife. With your help, we can avoid these problems and continue protecting these places for generations to come. 

Care for the coast and countryside

When you visit the coast and countryside, we ask that you please follow the Countryside Code:

Respect other people

  • Consider the local community and other people enjoying and working in the outdoors
  • Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways is clear
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Follow marked paths and local signs
  • Be nice, say hi

Protect the natural environment

  • Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
  • Take care with BBQs and fires – only use in designated areas
  • Keep dogs under control
  • Dog poo – bag it and bin it – any public bin will do

Enjoy the outdoors

  • Enjoy your visit – have fun – make a memory
  • Be prepared, check local conditions and what facilities are open

Thank you and enjoy your day out.

Why can’t I bring a BBQ?

The countryside can become very dry during the spring and summer months, which creates the perfect conditions for fires to ignite and quickly spread. Even a small spark from a barbeque or campfire can cause serious wildfires and devastate important wildlife habitats.

Wildfires also put a lot of pressure on the emergency services, and endanger local communities and wildlife. Although we have a very small number of designated barbecue areas at some of the places we care for, for instance on concrete surfaces where the risk of fire is low, these should not be used during periods whilst there is significant fire risk.

Please think of others; think of the wildlife; think of our emergency services; and don’t bring barbecues or start campfires at the beach or in the countryside.

Please take litter home with you

In the summer of 2020, 100 bin bags were filled in one weekend at Dovedale in the Peak District, while at Formby in Merseyside there were cool boxes, chairs and glass bottles strewn across the beach.

As well as spoiling the beauty of landscapes such as these, litter can also be extremely dangerous for wildlife which can easily become entangled or mistake it for food. It can also act as fuel for wildfires.

If you do have a picnic or produce any other litter during your visit, please keep hold of it until you find a bin, or take it home with you.


What's the problem with fly-camping?

Fly-camping is where people pitch camp or park campervans in an undesignated spot (often illegally), and then leave significant amounts of litter when they leave – often including tents, camping chairs, BBQs and even human waste.

Not only does this anti-social behaviour spoil places for other visitors, it also damages habitats and causes harm to wildlife. Clearing up after fly-campers also takes up a significant amount of our ranger teams’ time, taking them away from vital nature conservation work.

If you're planning a holiday in the UK this summer, please plan ahead, book your accommodation in advance, and only pitch your tent or park your campervan at permitted sites. Please also ensure that you dispose of all rubbish properly, or take it away with you at the end of your trip.

Please keep to the paths and trails

We have thousands of miles of walking, cycling and horse riding routes to explore all around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some of these trails run through crop fields or environmentally sensitive locations, so we ask that you always keep to the path or trail in order to avoid damaging the surrounding area.

If you’re exploring a new trail then it’s worth taking a map in order to make sure that you’re following the correct route, and don’t forget to look out for local signs and waymarkers as well.

 

What do I need to know about visiting with my dog?

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at most of our coast and countryside locations, unless there is a nature conservation reason for a place to be dog-free. This might vary according to the time of year, so it’s best to check the property webpage every time you plan to visit with your dog.

While visiting, please pay attention to any local signage relating to dog walking – for example whether your dog needs to be on a lead. Dogs should be kept on leads around livestock, but if cattle or other large animals try to chase your dog then it is safer to drop the lead until you are clear of the area.

If you do have your dog off-lead in a permitted area, please remember that you will be sharing that space with other dogs and people, some of whom might be nervous. Ensure that your dog remains within sight at all times, and will respond reliably to a recall.

Please bag your dog’s poo and carry it until you find a bin, or take it home with you. If left, dog poo can harm habitats by changing the nitrogen balance of soils, and it can also carry diseases that cause cows to have still-births.

Countryside Code top tips

A ranger repairing a dry stone wall in the Peak District

Help look after the places you love 

With your help, we can continue carrying out vital work to restore footpaths, create and preserve habitats for wildlife, conserve historic houses and so much more. Your support means more now than ever as we come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus.