Protect wildlife, plants, and trees
Sudden loud noises or shouting can frighten animals and wild life. A bird could be frightened away from its nest and abandon it's eggs or young. Animals with young are protective and loud noises could frighten them and cause them to run and the young could be hurt. Wild animals are not used to unusual noises like humans shouting and screaming and could be frightened away. A farmer would not be pleased if his animals were scared or frightened by people making a lot of noise. So be careful, the quieter you are, the more chance you have of seeing some of our wonderful wild animals and birds.
Do not pick wild flowers, they will die if they are too damaged. Some wild flowered have become very rare and it is illegal to pick them. Don't deliberately disturb wild animals, you may frighten them away or destroy their home. Damaged trees can die. Cutting the bark or breaking the branches allows disease to get in and they can be damaged. Certain plants, animals and birds have become endangered and should be left alone to encourage them to breed and reproduce. Protect what we have in the country side and it will be there forever.
You should always remember that, although the countryside is a wondrous place to explore, it is also the working environment for farmers, foresters, market gardeners and many other people. The land, unless clearly indicated as a public footpath, belongs to someone and you must be careful not to trespass.
Help keep water clean
Animals and plants need the clean water, and if it is contaminated by human waste, soaps, and rubbish, it can cause disease and pollute the water. Muddying a stream cattle or sheep drink from is the equivalent of getting dirty water from your tap, it is not pleasant to drink. Discarding rubbish into water is creating a hazard for animals who may wade in the water and could be injured by discarded glass, cans and other rubbish.
Guard against all risk of fire
Fires are destructive, and not only destroy crops, trees, property but also can kill the wildlife. Special precautions are needed when building an open fire, and Cubs can only do this under the supervision of an adult. Glass magnifies the sun's rays, like a magnifying glass, and can start a fire. In summer, even an adult discarding a cigarette can start a fire if it lands on dry grass. In forested areas, special precautions are needed because of the dry leaves and dead wood that lies around.
Take your litter home
Broken glass can injure animals, wild and domestic. It can also start fires in certain conditions. Plastic bags, if eaten by animals can kill them. Discarded paper is a fire hazard if near glass. Animals can eat sweet wrappers and become ill. Cans have jagged edges which can cut and injure animals feet. Discarded moldy food can also make animals ill. So take all litter home, or put it in a litter bin where it will be safe.
Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walls
A broken fence, hedge or wall can give animals the opportunity to escape into another field, onto the road, or onto another farmer's land. Sometimes, the escaped animals could be put at risk from other dangers, like being able to get near a quarry, cliff or have access to crops, which when eaten could make them very ill. Fences, walls and hedges are there to retain or restrain animals and must not be damaged by the public. Always look for a stile, gateway or a safe place to cross them where you will cause no damage.
Fasten all gates
Closed gates are there for a reason, and sometimes this reason is not always obvious to people who do not live in the country. Cattle need to be kept in certain fields. If they escape into a wrong field, like one growing cabbages, they can eat something they are not supposed to and become very ill. Gates to fields are there to stop farm animals getting onto roads, where they could cause accidents. Gates are a barrier, a means of retaining or protecting what is in the fields and must always be closed after you have gone through them.
Keep your dogs under close control
A playful dog may chase or scare farm animals, some can become over excited and attack the farmers stock. Any dog seen worrying animals can be shot by the farmer. So to protect your pet, and to safeguard the farmers stock, always keep your dog on a leash in the countryside. Even though there may be no farm animals around, remember there are wild animals and your dog could chase and injure them in his playfulness.
Keep to public footpaths across farmland
Walking across a field on a public footpath means staying on that path and not wandering over the land around it. No farmer wants to see crops trampled, or land just plowed and seeded trodden down. Public footpaths usually go around the edge of a field, and are clearly marked to avoid the public doing any damage. Follow the path, don't wander onto the farmers land or he may be annoyed or you could be prosecuted for doing damage to his crops or scaring his stock.
Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
Farm animals can be dangerous to people who are not used to working with them. They are valuable, they may be carrying young, or protecting their offspring and must not be frightened. Crops must not be damaged or the farmer will not be able to harvest them. All farm machinery can be very dangerous to those not used to working with it and must not be tampered with. Some have sharp blades for plowing and hoeing, some spray fertilizers and manure which could be harmful to handle.
Take care on country roads
Motorists, cyclists, and walkers should take care on country roads as you never know what is round the next bend: The farmers walk their animals along some roads, people ride horses and animals can stray onto roads where, when suddenly frightened, could be injured. In some areas, deer run wild and could cross a road suddenly. Damaged fences and open gates may allow sheep and cattle to wander onto a road where they can be a danger to any road user and be themselves in danger from the traffic.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.