The Country Code & Off Road Code

Article submitted by James Kirby

From a gentle stroll or relaxing picnic to a long-distance walk or heart-pumping adventure, the countryside provides every opportunity for enjoyment and relaxation.

If you follow the Countryside Code wherever you go, you'll get the best enjoyment possible and you'll help to protect the countryside now and for future generations.

Be SAFE - plan ahead and follow any signs:
Even when going out locally, it's best to get the latest information about where and when you can go; for example, your rights to go onto some areas of open land may be restricted while work is carried out, for safety reasons or during breeding seasons. Follow advice and local signs, and be prepared for the unexpected.

LEAVE gates and property as you find them:
Please respect the working life of the countryside, as our actions can affect people's livelihoods, our heritage, and the safety and welfare of animals and ourselves.

PROTECT plants and animals, and take your 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.

Keep you dog under close 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.

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.

Much more about the Code can be found at the Countryside Access website.


The OFF ROAD Code

  • Only ride where you know you have a legal right to do so.
  • Always yield to horses and walkers.
  • Avoid animals and crops. In some cases this may not be possible if this is the case keep contact to a minimum.
  • Take all litter home with you.
  • Leave all gates as you find them.
  • Don't get annoyed with anyone, it doesn't solve any problems.
  • Always try to be self sufficient, for you and your bike.
  • Never create a fire hazard.
  • Another thing to be aware of when going off-road is to avoid any confrontation with walkers and horse riders on bridleways.

Public information

For the Welsh Countryside Code, visit www.ccw.gov.uk.
For the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, visit www.snh.org.uk/soac.
For how and where to access the countryside, visit www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk or contact your local visitor centre or library (see www.yell.com for listings).
For information on new access rights, visit www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk, or email openaccess@countryside.gov.uk or telephone 0845 100 3298.
For maps and information on additional rides and walks in areas of special conservation interest, visit the website www.countrywalks.defra.gov.uk.
For problems with getting access to specific areas or rights of way, contact the relevant local authority's Countryside or Rights of Way Department, or National Park authority, for help.

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