Countryside Code - ScoutHelp

Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs

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Even when going out locally, you should try and find out the latest information about where and when you can go. Your rights to go onto some areas of open land may be restricted while work is carried out or you might not be allowed for safety reasons or during breeding seasons. Follow advice and local signs, and be prepared for the unexpected:

  • Refer to up-to-date maps, Check out Places to go for more information.
  • You are responsible for your own safety and for others around you, so be prepared for changes in weather and other events.
  • Check weather-forecasts before you leave, and don't be afraid to turn back.
  • Part of the appeal of the countryside is that you can get away from it all. You may not see anyone for hours and there are many places without clear mobile-phone signals, so you MUST let someone else know where you're going and when you expect to return.
  • Get to know the signs and symbols used in the countryside to show paths and open countryside.

Leaver Gates and Fences as you find them

Please respect the working life of the countryside, a sour actions can affect people's livelihoods, our heritage, and the safety and welfare of animals and ourselves.

  • A farmer will normally leave a gate closed to keep livestock in, but may sometimes leave it open so they can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. If walking in a group, make sure the last person knows how to leave the gates.
  • In fields where crops are growing follow the paths wherever possible.
  • Follow paths across land that has crops growing on it, wherever possible.
  • Use gates and stiles wherever possible
  • Be careful not to disturb ruins and historic sites.
  • Leave machinery and livestock alone

Protect Plants Trees and Animals and Take all litter home

We have a responsibility to protect our countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don't harm animals, birds, plants or trees.

  • Litter and leftover food doesn't just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife
  • Discover the beauty of the natural environment and care not to damage it
  • Wild animals and farm animals can behave unpredictably if you get too close, so give them plenty of space.
  • Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property please depose of fags probably!

Keep your dog under control

The countryside is a great place to exercise dogs, but it’s every owner’s duty to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.

  • By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.
  • You must keep your dog on a short lead on most areas of open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July, and at all times near farm animals.
  • You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.
  • If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead
  • Take particular care that your dog doesn't scare sheep and lambs
  • Always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly.

Consider other people

Showing consideration and respect for other people makes the countryside a pleasant environment for everyone - at home, at work and at leisure.

  • Busy traffic on small country roads can be unpleasant and dangerous to local people, visitors and wildlife
  • Respect the needs of local people
  • By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways.
  • Keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer.
  • Support the rural economy

See Also

Key Points

Caring For the Country Side


Taking Dogs Into the Country Side

Outdoor Activities and Events

Public Rights Of Way and Permissive Paths


Rights of way obstructions and hazards

Resources and Links