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The Countryside Code

OS Team • Walking • Apr 01, 2021 • 5 mins

Get outside responsibly

The Countryside Code is your guide to enjoying our parks and waterways, coast and countryside. With the help of Shaun the Sheep, find out more about how you can enjoy the outdoors responsibly and protect it for us all to enjoy for years to come.

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We love green open fields. We love fantastic forests. We love beautiful lakes and wandering rivers. Basically, it’s safe to say we love the countryside. But there is a fine line between enjoying the countryside safely and upsetting its precious harmony. The Countryside Code helps keep our beautiful natural environment protected while the public enjoy everything we have here.

The Countryside Code is split into three main categories. Respect. Protect. Enjoy.

Respect everyone

Be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside. Your actions can affect people’s lives and livelihoods.

  • be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
  • leave gates and property as you find them
  • do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
  • be nice, say hello, share the space
  • follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available

Respect people working in the countryside

Protect the environment

We all have a responsibility to protect our countryside and open spaces for current and future generations. Care for nature - do not cause damage or disturbance.

  • take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit
  • take care with BBQs and do not light fires
  • always keep dogs under control and in sight
  • dog poo – bag it and bin it – any public waste bin will do
  • care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance

Take your litter home

Enjoy the outdoors

The outdoors is great for our wellbeing. It is a place for relaxation, peacefulness and activity. Whatever you like to do outdoors, you will enjoy it more if you prepare in advance.

  • check your route and local conditions
  • plan your adventure – know what to expect and what you can do
  • enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory

Check your route

Scottish Outdoor Access Code

In Scotland, you can go on to most land to enjoy the outdoors – as long as you behave responsibly. This is known as Scottish access rights and is different to the position in England and Wales, as addressed in the Countryside Code above. When you are enjoying the outdoors in Scotland, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is based on three key principles

  • Respect the interests of others
  • Care for the environment
  • Take responsibility for your own actions

Find out more about the Scottish Access Code.

Shaun the sheep and the Countryside Code 

Shaun the Sheep and the Countryside Code

“Enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory!”

Published: Apr 01, 2021 Edited: Jul 26, 2023

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