CYCLING in the countryside is fantastic – a chance to get some fresh air, to explore, and to spend time in nature.

In England and Wales, the Countryside Code provides guidance for how to have a great time while looking after nature and other people around you.

A refreshed version of the Countryside Code was launched on April 1, to provide guidance to people eager to get out and explore as coronavirus restrictions start to lift. We’ve picked out the key points to know for cycling.

Respect everyone

Be nice, say hello, share the space. When you’re spending time outdoors you’re likely come across other users and animals. Slow down or stop for horses, walkers and livestock, and always give them plenty of room.

Remember, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways.

Be considerate to those living and working in the countryside

Leave gates and property as you find them or follow instructions on signs. When riding in a group, make sure the last person knows how to leave the gates.

Give wild animals, livestock and horses plenty of space, and move slowly to avoid startling them.

Their behaviour can be unpredictable, especially when they are with their young.


Park with care

If you take a car, make sure you don’t block access to gateways or driveways when parking.

Alternatively, leave the car and cycle from home instead, or take public transport where possible.

Follow local signs and keep to marked paths

Get to know signs and symbols to see where you can cycle off-road.

If you find a right of way blocked by a fallen tree or a locked gate, you can report it on your council’s website and they will deal with the obstruction.

Protect the environment

Leave no trace. Take all your litter home with you – even better, go one step further and pick up other people’s litter, too. We all benefit from trash free trails.

Care for nature – don’t cause damage or disturbance. Avoid damage to sensitive ecosystems by sticking to durable trails, particularly after prolonged wet weather. Leave rocks, stones, plants and trees as you find them.

Keep to marked routes where possible, particularly during breeding season to avoid disturbing wildlife, including ground nesting birds.

Enjoy the outdoors

Plan your adventure. Check your route and the weather conditions, and make sure you have the appropriate kit.