Asker Nature Reserve

Dogs & Countryside Code

Dogs & Countryside Code

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Dogs in the meadows

The Countryside Code is a set of guidelines in England and Wales that promotes responsible enjoyment of the outdoors, while respecting nature and those who live and work in the countryside.

Here are the three main principles of the Countryside Code:


• Respect everyone: Be considerate to others enjoying the countryside, leave gates and property as you find them, avoid blocking access, and follow signs.
• Protect the environment: Take your litter home, avoid fires (except in designated areas), keep dogs under control, and minimize disturbing wildlife.
• Enjoy the outdoors: The countryside is for everyone to explore, so follow the code and do your part to conserve it for future generations.


You can learn more about the Countryside Code on the UK government website

Owning a dog in the countryside comes with its own set of considerations in addition to general responsible dog ownership practices:

Always clean up after your dog and use the bins provided.
Dog fouling in public places including parks and green spaces, in England and Wales is included in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, introduced in 2014..
Local authorities can issue a fixed penalty fine of up to £80 to those who fail to clean up after their dog in public. If a person refuses to pay, the case could be taken to the local magistrates’ court, where the offender faces a fine of up to £1,000.
Pleading ignorance and saying you were unaware your dog had fouled isn’t a valid excuse, according to the law. And neither is not having an appropriate bag with you.
Be mindful of your dog’s prey drive when cows are present in the meadows. Even a friendly dog may chase after livestock animals, which can be dangerous for you, the dog and the animals. Keep your dog on a leash when near livestock. Do not enter fields containing cows: they will have calves with them and will see dogs as a threat, and may thus be aggressive.
Ticks, fleas, and other parasites can be more common in rural areas. Regularly check your dog for parasites and use preventative medications as recommended by your vet.