Natural England has a statutory duty to produce and promote the Countryside Code, to guide people visiting the countryside. It also has a duty to advise landowners and managers in relation to access on their land.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visits to the countryside increased. Much of this was to be welcomed, given the many health and wellbeing benefits provided to people through outdoor exercise and contact with nature. There were, however, a number of incidences across the country of undesirable actions and activities taking place, including damage to property and the environment. Many of these incidents came about as the result of a lack of understanding of how to engage positively with the natural environment, rather than by deliberate acts of damage.
In response, Natural England published an updated short version of the Countryside Code accompanied by a summer-long campaign to promote the safe enjoyment of the countryside, in partnership with stakeholders.
Now that we have more time to reflect over the winter period, Natural England is seeking your views on how we can refresh the Countryside Code. We plan to update the short version of the Code, aimed at visitors to the countryside. We also plan to produce two versions of the full Code – one aimed at visitors to the countryside, and one aimed at landowners and land managers.
Click through to take part here. NB: Closes 1 February 2021