Updated code for countryside now in place
Visitors to the countryside are being urged to follow new regulations in place.
Visitor numbers have increased at Natural England’s National Nature Reserves with more people enjoying daily walks during lockdown.
Now they are being asked to enjoy the outdoors safely, with respect and follow the new Countryside Code to help everyone protect and care for wildlife and natural habitats.
The National Nature Reserves support special biological features and wildlife, extending from the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR) in the north of Northumberland to the Humberhead Peatlands in Yorkshire.
The refreshed Countryside Code applies to all countryside areas and some National Nature Reserves are also protected by Byelaws.
Key changes include a reminder not to feed livestock, horses or wild animals; to stay on marked footpaths; information on permissions to do certain outdoor activities; clearer rules for dog walkers; and new wording to make clear the code applies to all natural places.
Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “The Countryside Code has been providing an excellent guide for people on how to get out and enjoy the outdoors safely for over 70 years.
“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.”
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “With so many people visiting the countryside, the Countryside Code has never felt more relevant.
"Crucially it now covers all green spaces, waterways, the coast and even parks in towns and cities, so that everyone, as we lift restrictions, can enjoy a greener future.
“I’d like to thank National England and all the many stakeholders who helped shape this updated version.
"It is an excellent guide and I urge visitors to nature – old and new – to follow its advice.”
The updated Countryside Code can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code