When the sun is shining, the perfect way to spend a weekend can be with a lovely countryside walk. However, new research has revealed that the majority of Brits are breaking rules as they explore the great outdoors.
Outdoor clothing company, Rohan, have found that a whopping seven in ten walkers break the Countryside Code while out walking. And contrastingly, only one in eight people seem to actually know exactly what is included in the Code.
In place around England, the Countryside Code is designed to help walkers enjoy their visit to the countryside whilst helping to protect it. Some of the commonly broken rules include closing gates and picking up stones.
READ MORE: The tiny town in Wales four hours from London randomly home to one of the best burgers in UK
Of course, it’s actually usually by accident that Brits break these rules. Almost half (48 per cent) of the respondents in the survey of 1,800 walkers have no knowledge at all of the Code.
The most common way Brits break the Code is by is by going through an open gate and closing it behind them – 46 per cent of walkers admitted to this.
Sam Durham, Chief Land Management Adviser at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), explained how this action, which you might think seems innocent, can cause issues: “Generally, a gate is closed or open for a reason, and it has been left that way by the farmer. It may be left open to give livestock access to food and water, or because they are working in the field and require regular access.”
Similarly, five per cent also admitted to going through a closed gate and not shutting it again behind them.
London has it all – the best nightlife, food, drink, events, markets, everything!
But how do you keep on top of this? Our weekly What’s On newsletter, Going Out Out, is how.
You’ll get a fully curated newsletter with the most exciting stories, reviews, previews and more – including original content – every single week.
And the best bit? It’s completely FREE.
All you have to do is sign up for Going Out Out here.
Another common way many break the Countryside Code whilst out on a walk may seem obvious. Twenty-three per cent of people admitted to climbing over fences, walls or hedges away from the designated footpath.
You may also be breaking the Code if you take home a rock, stone or plant that you’ve found whilst out walking. Likewise, you shouldn’t pick fruit or vegetables from a farmer’s field or feed a wild or farm animal – even it might sound like a cute idea. Walkers also shouldn’t approach wild or farm animals and of course, leave any litter on the floor as they’re walking.
Specialists in walking clothing, Rohan surveyed over 1,800 walkers in their report, testing them on their knowledge of the Countryside Code and what they do to protect their favourite natural landscapes.
Giles Polito, Marketing Director at Rohan, said: “It’s been fantastic to see more walkers than ever enjoying the British countryside in recent years. That being said, making small changes to our behaviour now will play a vital role in protecting these spaces for years to come, which is why the Countryside Code is so important.
“It offers advice on how we can all help to care for our natural environments so that they can be appreciated by future generations.”
It turns out that millennials (61 per cent) are the most likely generation to have some awareness of the Countryside Code, yet also admit to breaking its rules more than any other age group. Almost three-quarters have breached at least one aspect while out walking.
How much of the Countryside Code do you know?
Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, please email [email protected]