With the talk of Covid Passports and general wariness of international travel, UK travel operators are expecting a surge in staycations this summer, with some travel operators reporting the number of people booking and the length of each stay increasing by over 50% on average.
Not only is the pandemic affecting our holiday plans it has also changed people’s relationships with nature. Evidence from Natural England shows the importance of nature to people’s health and wellbeing, with 85% of people surveyed saying that being in nature makes them happy. It is no surprise then that some of the most popular staycation destinations this summer will include areas in our beautiful countryside, for example Once Brewed, Bamburgh and Bellingham.
We have seen, over the last 12 months or so, however, plenty of examples of the potential damage that masses of visitors can bring to our seaside and countryside. The publication, by Natural England, of the New Countryside Code on 1 April 2021 could not have been more perfectly timed, then.
If you aren’t familiar with the Countryside Code, it was first published in 1951 evolved from the work of various organisations and had several different versions from the 1920s. Its main aim is to provide advice for the public and landowners, to make it easier for visitors to help respect, protect and enjoy the outdoors. This 2021 update is the first in over a decade and was shaped by nearly 4,000 stakeholder responses to an online survey, which sought views on best practices for visiting the countryside and protecting the natural environment.
According to Natural England, this update on the Countryside Code aims to help everyone enjoy parks and open spaces in a safe way, whilst encouraging them to look after our natural environments and the livelihoods of those who work there.
Key changes to the Countryside Code for 2021 include:
Natural England have also adopted a “refreshed tone of voice”, in the hope that this will create a guide for the public rather than simply a list of rules. The Countryside Code will also now make it clear that the guidance applies to all our natural places, including parks and waterways, coast and countryside.
So, be sure to check out the New Countryside Code before embarking on your Staycation or even your next trip out to a beautiful park, waterway, beach or countryside near you.