Countryside Right of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act 2000)
The Countryside rights of way act (Crow Act) is made so all the people have access and can enjoy the beauty of countryside by walking on public roads and or footpaths. In 2000 CROW Act became official law, but before public access became available the land had to be mapped and their types identified to know whether it can be for public access or not. There are some reasons why the public access might not be given such as: nature conservation concerns, heritage preservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), avoidance of fire, or other danger to the public.
Authorities have a duty to produce Rights of Way Improvement plan for their area. They have to arrange places and access for recreation, exercise or enjoyment of the natural environment also considering the needs of less abled people by making sure that these places are easily reachable for wheelchairs. Though these places can be accessed by public there are certain rules that people have to follow such as: no access to vehicles, keeping and taking care of environment, leaving place of stay clean and tidy, keeping noise to reasonable level, no littering and all the rest of the rules are covered in Countryside Code.
Government body organisation called Natural England has given more power to protect and conserve SSSIs by taking legal actions against those who cause damage to natural environment. It can be individuals or corporations. Also they have duty to protect endangered animal species by providing strong penalties to people who put them in danger.
Areas of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB) is an area of countryside which has been conserved from being changed or destroyed due to its significant landscape and beauty. Local governments and government bodies such as Natural England has responsibility to locate, plan and manage those areas and publish so public could know which areas are conserved to avoid being penalised.
The Countryside Code
Countryside Code was created to act as rules and guidance for people who like to enjoy countryside and have expeditions or hikes. It consists of several main points that prevents major issues and dangers not only for the environment, but for other people and animals.
Staying safe is one of the Countryside code points. Planning ahead will help you to prevent unexpected possible danger and your trip to countryside will be smooth and pleasant. Preparation such as knowing signs, map symbols and keeping an eye on the time could save you a lot of time and struggle.
In a countryside gates are there for a reason whether they are opened or closed. Farmers close gates to prevent animals from leaving specific area or leave them open so animals could access to food and water. When walking near the crop field, make sure you walk on a footpath whenever it is possible to avoid causing the damage to crops. If you approach livestock or machinery make sure you leave it alone, because it is someone’s property and you could get fined for that. Make sure you don’t destroy heritage or historical sites, because they are protected by law.
Protecting the plants animals and environment is another point to be followed with Countryside code. Make sure you don’t interrupt natural environment in such a way like damaging the trees, removing rocks or scaring animals. To prevent environment from being spoiled, take the litter with you and recycle when there is appropriate place and time. If you smoke be careful with matches and cigarettes, because dry grass can quickly pick up uncontrollable fires.
If you have dog or dogs, you have to take appropriate care of them when accessing countryside according to law. When you take your dog always keep him under control and make sure that your dog doesn’t disturb farm animals, because by the law, farmers can neutralise any dog that causes distress or attacks farmer animals. Make sure your dog not only doesn’t disturb farmer animals, but wild animals as well, especially wild birds who nest on the ground. Always clean up after your dog, because it creates unpleasant view, someone may accidentally step on it and it spreads bacteria and diseases.
If you came to visit countryside and you are very excited, keep in mind that there are people who live there on day to day basis and they might not enjoy some behaviour such as: if you make loud noise, scare their animals or drive fast in rural areas. You need to respect local residents and listen to directions of the farmer when he moves animals to another area and they block your way.
Countryside code is basic rules to make environment in countryside better and safer place for you and for other people and animals. Leaving property as you find it, taking your rubbish with you and putting it in right bins and picking your dog faeces, protecting plants and animals, keeping your dog(s) under control and considering other people will make it pleasant for everyone – local residents, other visitors and yourself.