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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK
New countryside code
'Creature Comforts' sheep, designed by Aardman
Animals, birds and insects help promote the new Countryside Code
The team behind the Wallace and Gromit characters are helping to relaunch the countryside code.

The updated guidelines, on how to behave without damaging farmland or natural surroundings, are being promoted with adverts featuring cartoon animals.

Breakfast's Sarah Campbell was on a farm in Norfolk. She talked to Henry Cator, a farmer and to Nick Milton from the Ramblers Association.

New areas of land will open on a region-by-region basis from September.

COUNTRYSIDE CODE
Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
Leave gates and property as you find them
Respect the working life of the countryside
Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
Keep dogs under close control
Consider other people

Walkers will enjoy greater access in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, as well as the Forest of Bowland and Peak District, from 19 September.

The Countryside Agency plans to complete the process of mapping of the rest of England and Wales by late 2005.

The animated animal characters will appear on television and cinema screens to prepare the public for their new responsibility to safeguard the countryside.

'Creature Comforts' ponies, designed by Aardman
Large areas of moorland will open up under the new legislation

They include Colin the pony, John the dog, Ricky the spider and two seagulls called Dawne and Issy.

The revised code expands on long-standing reminders to walkers to close farm gates, keep dogs under control and protect animals and plants.

Endanger wildlife

The guidelines urge walkers to plan ahead and follow local advice on whether areas may be restricted due to breeding seasons or while work is carried out.

They are also reminded how their actions can potentially affect a land-owner's livelihood, damage the nation's rural heritage and endanger wildlife or people.

'Creature Comforts' seagulls, designed by Aardman
Seagulls will urge walkers and picnickers to respect the coast

Walkers must remember to shut gates behind them, not to drop litter and to keep dogs under close control.

The code concludes: "Showing respect for other people makes the countryside a pleasant environment for everyone - at home, at work and at leisure."

The guidance was drawn up by the Countryside Agency in partnership with groups including the National Trust, National Farmers' Union, Ramblers' Association and RSPB.

A new countryside access website also operates from Monday to help people plan where to go.

It gives advice on access to open country, as well as details of national parks, rights of way and outdoor organisations.



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Cautious welcome on right to roam
21 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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