Visit the great outdoors responsibly with the Countryside Code

Woman and child walking a dog in Pembrey Forest

As the school summer holiday arrives, visitors to Wales’s natural places are being asked to follow the Countryside Code to protect the environment, respect other people and enjoy the outdoors safely.

With more people aware of the health and well-being benefits of time spent in nature, Wales’s national parks, forests and nature reserves have seen an increase in visitors over the last few years. This has led to a rise in anti-social behaviour and environmental damage such as littering, fires and fly-camping at many of these special places.

Concerned for the impacts on wildlife, communities, and the emergency services, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging people to follow the Countryside Code in all outdoor spaces and to do their bit to minimise pressures on landscapes.

Alison Roberts, Responsible Recreation Advisor at NRW said:

“Wales’s natural places are ideal destinations for people to relax and recharge their batteries.

“But we must maintain a balance between the wishes of individuals to enjoy the outdoors and the responsibilities each of us has to care for nature, respect local communities and consider our own safety.

“We thank the vast majority of people who visit the outdoors for behaving responsibly and we hope that will continue as we head into the busiest part of the year.”

The Countryside Code offers the following guidance for visitors to countryside, coast, parks and waterways:

Respect everyone

  • be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
  • leave gates and property as you find them
  • do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
  • be nice, say hello, share the space
  • follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available

Protect the environment

  • take your litter home - leave no trace of your visit
  • do not light fires and only have BBQs where signs say you can
  • always keep your dogs under control and in sight
  • dog poo - bag it and bin it in any public waste bin or take it home
  • care for nature - do not cause damage or disturbance

Enjoy the outdoors

  • check your route and local conditions
  • plan your adventure - know what to expect and what you can do
  • enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory

The full Countryside Code can be viewed on NRW’s website:

To plan a visit to NRW’s woodlands and National Nature Reserves, go to their Days Out website: