Bear Grylls and others urged to teach Countryside Code

The packs aim to help young people understand safe and responsible behaviour in the countryside
The packs aim to help young people understand safe and responsible behaviour in the countryside

Youth group leaders including Bear Grylls are being encouraged to teach Countryside Code resources after attempts to make it part of the national curriculum were dismissed.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) and Leaf Education are urging youth groups to make use of their newly-released resource pack on the Countryside Code.

They have written to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Girlguiding, Scout Association, including Chief Scout Bear Grylls, Sea Cadets and British Orienteering asking them to teach children the free lesson plan.

They centre around the code’s messages of respect, protecting the environment and enjoying the outdoors through activities including a soil investigator’s exercise, sky lantern role play activity and waymarker memory game.

It is hoped these packs will help children and young adults understand that safe and responsible behaviour in the countryside is fundamental to enjoyment of it.

The Countryside Code, which was first introduced in 1951, was recently refreshed following a rise in the number of visitors to the countryside during the pandemic.

Changes include clearer rules to underline the importance of clearing away dog mess and staying on footpaths to protect crops and wildlife.

Mark Bridgeman, president of the CLA said: “More and more people continue to make the most of our beautiful countryside – and we want to ensure they all feel welcome.

"In doing so, we want to help people understand how to enjoy their visit safely and responsibly, starting in schools and youth groups.

“For a long time there has been a lack of education around the Countryside Code, which is why we’ve developed these packs to ensure young people, and their families, can enjoy visits to the countryside.

“We’d strongly urge all youth groups to make full use of this resource – so that they themselves can become custodians of the countryside, with both visitors and farmers reaping the rewards.”

Carl Edwards, director of Leaf Education, said it was important that young people learned from an early age about the important messages in the Countryside Code.

"The earlier young people experience the joy of the countryside, the greater their chance of developing a life-long enjoyment and respect of the environment around them," he said.