Most of us will have likely heard about the Countryside Code, especially if you love a peaceful ramble across the many beautiful hillsides that Wales and the UK have been blessed with. Whether you’re walking, cycling or driving, this ‘code of conduct’ was created to keep ourselves and animals safe whilst we’re out on our adventures, and to keep nature’s works of art beautiful and unharmed for all to enjoy, including our four-legged friends.
In addition to the basics such as sticking to footpaths; never entering crop fields; not disturbing, petting or feeding any animals (especially if they have little ones) and the biggie – taking all your litter home with you! – the Countryside Code also sets out advice for when you’re accompanied by your Furbabies. Natural Resources Wales also created a helpful guide, The Dog Walking Code, to help dog owners ensure that farm animals, wildlife and you and your doggos are kept safe and happy whilst on your treks.
Lets take a look at the key things to remember when adventuring into the countryside with your doggie friends…
Stay in Control
Keep Dogs under control at all times whilst out and about to ensure that farm animals and wildlife are not disturbed. For the safety of other animals and your furbaby, it is advised to always keep them on a lead, especially if your dog is likely to get the ‘zoomies’ and run off, or doesn’t return to you when you call them – it is true that farmers are permitted to use lethal force with dogs that agitate or injure their animals, so don’t risk it!
Stick to the Path
It is important to stick to the official right of ways, don’t go into crop fields, or fields with restriction signs and keep your distance from any animals you may encounter. Also, remember to always leave open gates open and if a gate was originally closed, make sure to close it behind you – this allows animals to roam from field to field or to be kept safely behind locked gates where necessary.
Remember when walking in open countryside or common areas, dogs must be kept on short leads between 31st March and 31st July each year in the UK, but this also applies to all-year-round when you and your dog are near farm animals. Also, some spaces, such as public beaches may not allow dogs at certain times of the year, this can often be the case with areas where birds are nesting or baby farm animals are due. Keep a look out for signs in the area you’re visiting.
Scoop that Poop!
Now this may be an obvious one but what you may not know is that dog poo is considered toxic and can transmit diseases to humans and other animals, as well as being stinky, unpleasant and sometimes easy to miss when walking on muddy paths or in long grass. Dog mess should be cleaned up and disposed of responsibly. Never leave bags of dog poo around the area, even if you plan to collect it later, there have many reports of farm animals getting curious about these plastic-poop-packages and becoming ill – or even worse!
Its so relaxing to forget about the world as you’re enjoying the stunning sites it has to offer but, whilst you breathe in the fresh country air and awe in the magic of nature always remember to stay S.A.F.E. (Natural Resource Wales).
S – Stop, look and listen before entering a field; be
A – Aware of any animals present and keep your dog on a short lead if there are.
F – Find the safest route around animals, giving them plenty of space and using paths or access land where possible
E – Exit the area calmly and quickly if threatened by other animals. Release your dog to make it easier for you both to reach safety – animals are more likely to be scared of your dog than you, and your doggo is far more likely to outrun them than you are.
Enjoy your rambles and stay safe friends, because there’s so much more of nature’s miracles out there to explore!
Dont forget you can book your dog friendly stay with us here.