Shropshire Council urges people to respect the countryside in new campaign
Shropshire Council is calling for visitors to the county’s beautiful countryside to be respectful so it can be protected for everyone to continue to enjoy.
Throughout 2020 Shropshire’s countryside has been a lifeline to many, particularly during lockdown. While the majority of people treat it with respect, there are increasing instances of irresponsible behaviour which threatens to cause damage to the county’s green spaces.
With more people choosing staycations and visiting the countryside more often, the number of us turning to Shropshire’s countryside for exercise and a break has increased greatly. For example, in July 2020, more than 35,000 people visited The Mere in Ellesmere. In the same month in 2019, the number was 20,000.
To help protect Shropshire’s countryside, people are being urged to behave respectfully. The best way you can do this is by following local coronavirus rules and the Countryside Code.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said:
“We’re blessed in Shropshire to have such beautiful countryside on our doorstep, and it has been a real lifeline to residents of the county throughout 2020.
“As such, it’s important that we all do our part to protect it, and the best way we can do this is by behaving respectfully. On the whole we’re pleased that people are, but there are instances of some shamelessly disrespecting the countryside, causing damage and concern for local communities.
“This is why we are launching this campaign to encourage everyone to be respectful when visiting the countryside, whether you’re a Shropshire resident or visitor to the county. I would urge anyone visiting rural Shropshire to check the Countryside Code, become familiar with local coronavirus rules and plan your visit.
“Anyone wishing to help share the message can do so by sharing the graphics that we will make available shortly.”
The Countryside Code
Familiarising yourself with the Countryside Code will give you all the information you need to be able to behave respectfully when visiting rural locations.
When visiting the countryside remember that there are local communities living in the are,a so make sure you don’t park in front of drives and gateways. Plan ahead to find the best places to park and check what facilities are open.
Some public paths pass through private land and farmers’ fields, so make sure you leave gates and properties as you find them. Some gates are closed to protect any livestock that may be in the field.
We all want to visit clean and tidy outdoor spaces so leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home, and if you have your dog with you, remember to scoop the poop!
You can find more useful information by visiting https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code.
Heather Kidd, local Shropshire Councillor for Chirbury and Worthen, said:
“I am keen to share our beautiful area, but farmers’ livelihoods and local residents’ enjoyment is also important. Visitors to the countryside just need to be sensitive to country life and follow the Countryside Code.”
Ruth Houghton, local Shropshire Councillor for Bishop’s Castle, said:
“Our local economy relies on tourism and, as such, visitors are made to feel very welcome in our area, and we really hope that they enjoy our stunning countryside and outdoor activities. All we ask is that anyone visiting south Shropshire follows the Countryside Code and leaves it as they find it for others to enjoy.”
Visiting Shropshire’s countryside: Local COVID Alert level rules
Shropshire is currently in Tier 1, meaning the local risk is ‘Medium’. This means you should:
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance from people not in your household bubble (2 metres apart where possible)
- Stick to a maximum group of 6 people when meeting socially – indoors or outdoors
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Plan your visit so you know what facilities are available and open.