The Countryside code

Dogs love to have a great run around in the woods and across fields.  With lots of different smells and places to explore your dog will get loads of mental stimulation and physical exercise making them a happier and healthier companion.

To get the most out of your country side walks its best to follow the Countryside Code.  Take a look below to find out more.

A brief history of the Countryside Code..

Two versions of the Countryside Code were originally drawn up in the 1930’s and were known as the ‘Country Code’ and a ‘Code of Courtesy’.
The ‘Ramblers Code’ then came along in the 1940’s courtesy of  the ‘Ramblers Association’ which was then later followed by a ‘National Parks’ and ‘Access to the Countryside Act’ which brought about the production of the first national Country Code in 1951.
1979 saw a review of the Country Code by the Countryside Commission which produced a list of key messages that were published in 1981.
2004 brought the launch of the new Countryside Code and reflects the changes in society and the introduction of new open access rights.

Respect – Protect – Enjoy

The aim of the code is to set out a list of rules that visitors to rural and agricultural areas should follow inorder to enjoy and protect the beauty of the countryside and keep yourself, your dog, wild life and livestock safe.  The code comes under 3 main headings as follows.

Respect other people
• Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
• Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available

Protect the natural environment
• Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home
• Keep dogs under effective control

Enjoy the outdoors
• Plan ahead and be prepared
• Follow advice and local signs

Dog specific information from the Countryside Code

Below you will find some dog specific advise and rules from the countryside code that as a responsible dog owner you should follow inorder to keep yourself and your dog safe when out in the countryside.

  • Dog mess is extremely unpleasant and can cause infections whether you come across it in the countryside or in the streets.  Please therefore always clean up after your dog and dispose of the mess in a dog bin or in a responsible manner.  Your dog should also be wormed regularly to keep your dog other animals and people healthy.
  • Keep your dog under control at all times so that you do not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife.  Take extra care around sheep and lambs and keep away from ground nesting birds and other wildlife.
  • If whilst on your walk you and your dog get chased by farm animals dont try to protect your dog and get hurt,  let your dog off the lead and make your way quickly to a safe place.
  • If your dog has an unreliable recall or you are walking somewhere new or near farm animals as a general rule it is best to keep your dog on a lead.  By law a farmer is entitled to destroy a dog that worries or injures their animals.
  • The new open country and common land rights require that you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1st March and 31st July and all year round when near farm animals.  Some areas do not allow dogs at specific timesof the year.  Please look out for offical signs.

For further information and to become familiar with the whole of ‘The Countryside Code’ please view or download the Countryside Code Leaflet by clicking here.