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Follow the Countryside Code

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.
Walking at Divis and the Black Mountain, County Antrim. | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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

Care for the coast and countryside

Issues such as littering, wildfires and fly-camping can all cause significant harm to landscapes and wildlife. With your help, these problems can be avoided so that these places can be protected for generations to come.

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

Countryside Code top tips

  1. Please camp considerably
    Overnight stays are not allowed. Please use designated campsites if you’d like to stay the night
  2. Leave barbecues at home
    No fires please. You’re welcome to have a picnic but please don’t have a barbecue.
  3. Keep to the path
    Protect the places you love. Help prevent lasting damage by staying on the paths.
  4. Leave no trace
    Help us care for these special places by leaving them as you find them.

Respect other people

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

Protect the natural environment

  • Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home.
  • Take care with barbecues 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, and make a memory.
  • Be prepared, check local conditions and what facilities are open.
Volunteer litter picking at Tarn Hows, Cumbria. Behind him is a view of the lake and surrounding greenery.
Litter picking at Tarn Hows, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey


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, barbecues 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.


Why can’t I bring a barbecue?

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 barbecue 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 there are 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 keep to the paths and trails

There are 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 please always keep to the path or trail to avoid damaging the surrounding area.

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

A family walking their dog on a lead at the High Peak Estate on a sunny day. The valley is visible behind them, with green fields, trees and peaks visible in the distance.
Family on a walk at High Peak Estate | © National Trust Images / Trevor Ray Hart

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.

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