Respect The Countryside

Know the rules for visiting the countryside, and follow them.


Respect the wishes of local residents and landowners, and don’t enter private land without permission unless it is open for public access on foot. Follow the codes on access and the countryside for the place you’re walking in.

Irresponsible behaviour may cause a land manager to deny access to others (eg for necessary survey work). It may also disturb the bird or give birdwatching bad coverage in the media.

Legislation provides access for walkers to open country in Britain, and includes measures to protect wildlife. Note that the rules and codes are different in each part of Britain, so plan ahead and make sure you know what you can do.

In England and Wales, access is to land mapped as mountain, moor, heath and down, and to registered common land. However, local restrictions may be in force, so follow the Countryside Code and plan your visit. In England, the Countryside Code and maps showing areas for public access are on the Countryside Access website. In Wales, access maps are at the Tir Gofal site and the Countryside Code at Cod Cefn Gwlad.

In Scotland, access is available to open country and to field margins of enclosed land to reach open country, provided you act in accordance with the Scottish Access Code – see the Outdoor Access website, linked from this page.

Although there is no statutory right of access in Northern Ireland, there is lots of information, including the Country Code, at the Countryside Recreation site.

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