Exploring the countryside is one of the most enjoyable parts of touring, allowing you to head off from your caravan park and take in some wonderful views of beautiful green spaces. However, a study has revealed 86% of Brits are inadvertently breaking the Countryside Code when they’re enjoying a walk.

The survey, conducted by Rohan, asked 2,000 walkers about their understanding of the Countryside Code, along with the steps they take to look after the natural landscapes. The Code advises people on how they can enjoy and protect the countryside through responsible action.

While it may seem an innocuous act, the most common breach of the Code comes from people walking through an open gate and then closing it behind them (46%).

Explaining why it could be an issue, Sam Durham, Chief Land Management Adviser for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), said: “Generally, a gate is closed or open for a reason, and it has been left that way by the farmer. It may be left open to give livestock access to food and water, or because they are working in the field and require regular access.”

Another breach of the Code comes from people forsaking the footpaths and instead following their own trail (29%). This can cause issues for a number of reasons, including destroying areas that have been left for wildlife, disturbing livestock and causing possible damage to crops and soil.

While taking a dog on a caravanning holiday is an enjoyable experience, it can also lead to a further breach of the Code for 13% of Brits, who are letting their canine companion off the lead when they shouldn’t.

The 10 most common breaches of the Countryside Code are:

– Going through an open gate and closed it behind you: 46%
– Leaving the designated footpath: 29%
– Climbing over a fence, wall or hedge away from the footpath: 23%
– Taking a rock, stone or plant home: 15%
– Letting a dog walk off its lead: 13%
– Picking a vegetable or piece of fruit from a farmer’s land: 10%
– Feeding a wild or farm animal: 9%
– Letting a dog walk off the designated footpath: 8%
– Playing music: 7%
– Having a barbecue: 6%

However, the survey did find that while many of us are breaking the Code, it’s not done intentionally. Only 12% of the respondents said they know what the guidelines involve, with 47% either unsure or having no knowledge of them.

Giles Polito, Marketing Director at Rohan, said: “We’ve long worked to inspire people to enjoy the great outdoors and all it has to offer, and it’s been fantastic to see more walkers than ever enjoying the British countryside in recent years. That being said, making small changes to our behaviour now will play a vital role in protecting these spaces for years to come, which is why the Countryside Code is so important.”

“It offers advice on how we can all help to care for our natural environments so that they can be appreciated by future generations.”

You can find more great ideas for where to head to for some scenic walks in our guide to the top sites for river and canal walks.

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