Countryside code for the national park

WOULD you know what to do if a farm animal chased you? Where you can walk your dogs off the lead? What the different Rights of Way signs mean?

To help improve public awareness, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has launched a customised pocket sized version of the Countryside Code entitled ‘Caring For the South Downs National Park’.

The new pull out leaflet is an essential guide to being in the country and includes information about Rights of Way, Access Land, and dog walking.

Developed in partnership with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), the South Downs Society (SDS) and the South Downs Land Management Group (SDLMG), the leaflet is available free of charge from Tourist Information Centres, visitor attractions and many other organisations across the National Park.

It folds into a credit card sized plastic wallet and has been designed to fit in a shirt pocket for ease of reference.

“Making sure that everyone who lives in and visits the National Park is fully aware of the Countryside Code will ensure that we can all enjoy the South Downs and help protect them.

“I am very pleased that one of our first publications, developed with our environmental and land management partners, promotes this awareness,” said Margaret Paren, chair of the SDNPA.

Gates, stiles and farm animals are a fact of life in the country, and no more so than in the South Downs National Park where over 85 per cent of the land is farmed land.

For residents and visitors alike, however, knowing what to do or what signs mean may not be second nature.

By following the tips within the leaflet ‘Caring for the South Downs National Park’, you can improve your personal enjoyment and safety.

At the same time, you are adhering to basic codes of behaviour set out for the protection of the landscape, animals and habitats of the National Park.

“We have an excellent network of Public Rights of Way in the South Downs, and farmers welcome visitors who use them responsibly.

“We can all help protect and enhance the South Downs by ensuring that our behaviour respects the environment we are in.

“Sticking to the Countryside Code is a simple way of doing that’ said Mike Tristram, secretary of the SDLMG.

“If you are not quite sure what is appropriate in a farmed environment, you can endanger farm animals - as well as people - even while you are enjoying our countryside.

“This leaflet is a contribution towards helping our visitors to appreciate and delight in all aspects of our beautiful South Downs,” said Rodney Chambers, chair of the CPRE, Sussex Branch.