Etiquette may seem a strange
title for a walking site but there are a number of things you
should/shouldn't do to enhance everyone's lives - walkers, landowners and
The Countryside Code
There is an official
"Countryside Code" which you can visit via
Unfortunately, it is obviously written with a "Health and Safety"
mentality i.e. with a belief that you have to cover all eventualities on the
basis that people are totally stupid. It is rather patronising and
what are you supposed to do with it? Memorise it? Carry a card with you at
all times and refer to it regularly? Ridiculous of course. It can all be
summed up as:
countryside and leave it as you find it."
If you follow that simple
principle literally, you will automatically fall in line with the Code.
Another good maxim is:
"Take nothing but
photographs, leave nothing but boot-prints."
For the lovers of detail, the
following are the main principles of the Countryside Code:
# Enjoy the countryside and
respect its life and work.
# Guard against all risks of
fire - this includes not discarding lit cigarettes/matches or glass which
can act as a magnifying glass and concentrate the rays to cause a fire.
# Fasten all gates - but note
that sometimes farmers will leave a gate open so animals can reach food or
water. The best advice is leave them as you find them.
# Keep your dogs under close
control - it is the law that you do not let it disturb wildlife or farm
animals. A farmer may legally shoot any dog worrying livestock.
# Keep to public paths across
# Use gates and stiles to cross
fences, hedges and walls - the landowner/farmer has to maintain these and
climbing over will potentially cause expensive repairs, especially on
# Leave livestock, crops and
# Take your litter home - do not
be a mindless idiot who happily carries a heavy full bottle of Coke to the
top of a hill then abandons the empty bottle which weighs nothing. Litter
can also injure wildlife and farm creatures. If you see any litter and are
feeling charitable, please take it home for disposal.
# Help to keep all water clean.
# Protect wildlife, plants and
# Take special care on country
# Make no unnecessary noise.
Respect direction and privacy
Even in open countryside, dog
mess is disgusting. The deep tread in walking boots is especially difficult
to de-mess. Unpleasant as it is, please clean up after your dog and take the
plastic bags away for disposal.
Do not park your car where it
will block a track or gateway.
Particularly following the foot
and mouth outbreak, country communities became acutely aware of the
importance of visitors to their economy and in most places, walkers are
welcomed. You can respond by buying local produce.
Mobile phones can be a
lifesaver. They can also be very annoying to others as can excessively loud
iPods. Ask yourself whether you really need these trappings of the
technological age to be constantly active when you are supposed to be
enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside. Beware of reliance upon
them alone for navigation. If they run out of battery, you could get in a
mess. Always carry a proper Ordnance Survey map and compass.
Country roads can be narrow and
tortuous. Drive carefully and if blocked by animals being moved from one
place to another, do not harass them. Be patient.
Do not take plants/animals/rocks
All information on this
site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.