CPRE welcomes an update to the Countryside Code that we helped to create

1st April 2021

In exciting news, the government has published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code – and we welcome it as a way to help more people enjoy the great outdoors.

1951 saw the first version of the Countryside Code come into being, evolving from a 1930s CPRE campaign. We were proud to be a part of the original Countryside Code and we welcome this latest version – with its emphasis on everyone being able to enjoy the countryside safely and respectfully.

We’re passionate about the benefits that spending time in our green spaces can bring us. Our research has shown that the coronavirus pandemic has only served to reinforce how much we value these experiences, and so this new guidance to help us get out and about safely is timely.

We want everyone to feel comfortable and confident as they explore the countryside, so we welcome the friendly guidance in the latest Countryside Code and its warm tone of voice and encouragement to ‘enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory’.

'The countryside can seem a daunting place with confusing rules.'
Crispin Truman, CPRE chief executive

CPRE recognises that the countryside isn’t always accessible or easy to explore; as our chief executive Crispin Truman says, ‘to many, it can seem a daunting place with confusing rules’. We welcome any support that can help as many of us as possible connect with the countryside and feel confident that we’re not causing harm on our outdoor adventures.

Let’s ‘harness the enthusiasm’

The Countryside Code was last updated over a decade ago, so we’re pleased to see this refresh hitting just as the coronavirus pandemic restrictions look set to lift across the country and lots of us look ahead with excitement to being back in the countryside.

The latest changes, sourced following contributions from over 4,000 people, include encouraging suggestions for creating a welcoming experience, such as by greeting others, and clear rules and explanations about tidying up dog poo and sticking to footpaths.

Crispin celebrates the value and affection for our much-loved local green spaces that was clear during lockdown, commenting:

‘For the countryside to thrive, we must harness the enthusiasm for getting outdoors that we witnessed throughout the lockdowns.

'It’s great to see the government launching an updated Countryside Code, which we hope will reach a wider range of people.'
Crispin Truman

‘It’s great to see the government launching an updated Countryside Code, which we hope will reach a wider range of people, many of whom may be recent converts to enjoying the wonders of our beautiful countryside.’

Collective care

We believe that the more of us that can spend time in our green spaces, the more we’ll feel connected to – and ownership of – these invaluable resources. Crispin explains that guidance that helps us all to better understand the countryside will only serve to help us all to protect it for others to enjoy in years to come:

‘The Countryside Code and similar guides can be a vital resource for people new to exploring our treasured green spaces.

‘Accessible guides, developed with key communities, are one way to help overcome some of the barriers to countryside access. A countryside open to all will ensure it is protected and enhanced for generations to come.’

We’ll keep standing for the countryside and calling for it to be open to all to benefit from. Want to stand with us? Sign up now for monthly news on our work or join us as a member from just £3 a month.

A footprint-shaped sign saying 'only leave your footprints' by a beach
A sign at the beach at Hengistbury Head, Dorset, reminding visitors to take litter when they leave Nick Fewings / Unsplash