I remember being very young and having one of those hardcover reading books that were all over the place in the 80s, you know, the old fashioned books, maybe by Ladybird? This book was about The Country Code. I remember it as it made the countryside sound like a magical place where you could get up to all sorts. This seemed like a fairytale for a lass growing up in a housing estate. But despite where we lived, we were taught about The Country Code, even if there was no country near us!
Roll on 30 years, and I wonder how often it is taught now. I love the outdoors, and I am loving seeing more people outdoors. But, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about keeping themselves safe and caring for nature, which does scare me a little. Please do not take this as I do not like others venturing out, it is what I live for, but I do think a little education is needed.
How much of The Country Code can you recall? I am going to explore some key areas within it that I think maybe could be worth teaching. Though, if I am honest, it is worth teaching it all.
There is a couple of things here that really worries us, and we are seeing them time and again. The first is cars racing along country roads. They twist and turn, limiting how far ahead you can see, so taking your time is essential.
The single-lane country roads are filled with passing spaces. These little spots aren’t for parking in, but we know you wouldn’t be as thoughtless, dangerous and selfish. But, sometimes, when you drive, the closest passing place might be behind you. The Highway Code encourages you to reverse if this is the case.
The other thing that worries me when I see people forgetting is that people should walk on the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic if there is no pavement. This scares me when people do not; if you have your back to traffic how can you stay safe?
We increasingly hear unfortunate stories of horses being put to sleep due to becoming ill after passers-by feed them. I have no doubt the passers-by do not mean to do a bad turn to the animals but never feed horses, livestock or wild animals; it can make them seriously ill.
Picnics and Food
Last year we were saddened after seeing countless photographs where people had started bbq’s or fires, and it ended up destroying ancient trees or turning into wildfires. Fires destroy the countryside, habitats and wildlife that you enjoy. The earth is especially parched this year; we beg of you, follow the rules; do not light fires and only have bbqs at designated spots.
I see lots of, and it gladdens my heart is people being nice to each other. Allowing space and sharing a nod or a smile and sometimes even stopping to swap a few words. It is wonderful, and I enjoy this! We want everyone to get outdoors and make real memories in nature. It belongs to each of us, but that means each of us has a responsibility to care for it.
So, if you are an educator or parent, I would beg of you to touch on The Country Code with the children you care for.
If you are not an educator or parent but spend time outdoors, it is worth reacquainting yourself with the code. It could save your life or the countryside you love.
If you would like to know more then, please do check out – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code-advice-for-countryside-visitors
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