Respect, protect and enjoy the countryside with the refreshed Countryside Code

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The Countryside Code, which applies to England and Wales, has been updated for 2012 to encourage walkers and rural visitors to "respect, protect and enjoy" the countryside and advise land managers how they can help.

The refreshed Code, which has been produced by Natural England, includes updated advice on rights of way and preventing fires as well as new information on coastal safety and keeping dogs under “effective control” around livestock and wildlife.

We were one of a number of organisations to contribute to the new edition. "It is important that the Code is updated regularly to reflect the changing needs of the Countryside and those who use it, whether that be for recreation or work" says Nicky Philpott, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Ramblers.

"Six million walkers in the UK love to get out into the countryside and access our wonderful network of paths and access land" adds Nicky. "The Countryside Code encapsulates the responsibilities that come with the rights we enjoy and ensures that the Countryside is protected for all."

To read a full version of the refreshed Countryside Code (Côd Cefn Gwlad in Wales) visit our walking information section.

Martin Powell

When I was taught the countryside code it included a section about climbing gates. I have recently admonished a number of members who, generally through impatience, climb over gates with no consideration for the gate itself rather than queue for the adjacent serviceable stile. Such actions are then copied by new members thinking it is acceptable. The current wording of the code almost encourages such behaviour and certainly does nothing to support my admonition. Can you advise me on why the advice "If you must climb a gate ... always do this at the hinged end." has been removed. It is present in the Northern Ireland site: :
When crossing fences, hedges and walls, use the nearest gate or stile. Damage to fencing can allow animals to stray. If you must climb a gate because it is difficult to open, always do this at the hinged end.