CLA South West urges public to use our landscapes responsibly and not commit ‘countryside crimes’ this coming Bank Holiday

With the August Bank Holiday just around the corner and good weather forecast, thousands of people will be out enjoying the beautiful South West countryside.

CLA South West, which represents landowners and farmers across the popular holiday destination locations in the region, is urging the public to stick to footpaths, bridleways, leave gates as they found them and follow instructions on signs, keep dogs under control and not to leave their litter behind.

The spirit of the Countryside Code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there are a few worrying trends that are either based on anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside.

Common problems include littering, fly tipping, straying from designated rights of way and mismanagement of dogs.

Accessing the fresh air and getting close to nature have widely researched health and wellbeing benefits, but visitors and their canine companions need to act responsibly in order to protect our natural environment and its inhabitants.

Ann Maidment, Director CLA South West said: “Livestock worrying by dogs that are not adequately controlled by their owners has been on the increase.

“There are regular reports of sheep worrying and physical harm to animals which have been mauled or scared to death by out of control dogs. There is also a rise in the number of field gates left open and livestock escaping from their fields.

“We would also urge the public to take their rubbish home with them, fly-tipping is a crime, no matter how big or small and the public must be mindful not to blight our countryside with their picnic leftovers. The ground is extremely dry so remember, if you’re going to have a BBQ be sure to put it out properly and dispose of safely to reduce the risk of fire."

“In the words of the Countryside Code “Respect, Protect, Enjoy.”

Landowners and farmers welcome visitors to share in the natural and farmer-shaped beauty of our region’s countryside. Following the Countryside Code and using common sense and courtesy is the least we can do as an unspoken ‘thank you’ to the custodians of our rural landscape.