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1. Plan ahead

Planning is essential for a safe day in the countryside.

  • Make sure you know where you are going and how long you are going to take, and tell someone this.
  • Make sure you have sufficient clothing in case the weather turns cold or wet. Several thin layers are better than one thick layer.
  • If you are planning a long day out, make sure you have some food and drink.

2. Leave gates as you find them

It is of vital importance that all gates are left as you find them. Gates are used to control livestock and therefore should be left as found.

3. Stick to paths

On farmland you must stay to the paths to prevent damage to crops and reduce the risks of disturbing livestock. On nature reserves staying on the paths helps to protect the animals and preserve the rare species many people come to see.

4. Take your litter home

Litter is not just an eye-sore, it can injure animals. Make sure that you take ALL of your litter home.

5. Don't light fires

Fires can destroy entire habitats in a matter of seconds. Don't light fires, drop cigarettes or matches in the countryside.

6. Keep your dog under control

By law, you must keep your dog under control to prevent any disturbance to wildlife and farm animals.

You may let your dog off its lead, but it must still be under your control. If you cannot control your dog, you must use a lead.

Cattle may chase dogs if they are disturbed; this can be dangerous for the owner, as the dog will run back to its owner and the cows will follow.

7. Consider others

When using the countryside, think of others.

  • If you are riding a bike, slow down for walkers and livestock.
  • Keep out of the way of farmers moving livestock or using machinery
  • Support the rural economy by using local shops and markets.

8. Water Safety

Our lakes and ponds look like fun places to play but often they have hidden dangers. Make sure you stay safe by following our water safety guide.