The countryside code of conduct

The following rules should be followed whenever you are going out to drive un surfaced public rights of way.

byway signViewAlways keep to the defined tracks, and deviate only to pass immovable obstructions.  Report all obstructions, including low branches and very soft ground, to the relevant highway authority. If the correct route is not obvious on the ground, check with your guide, ask local users, or check details held at highway authority and local council offices.

Travel at a quite and unobtrusive pace in small groups.  Remember that others also seek to get away from the bustle and rush of everyday life.  You should always aim to travel as slow as possible and only as fast as necessary

Ensure that you and your vehicle are fully road legal, and obey traffic and local by-way signs.  Green Lanes are subject to the same laws as surface roads.  There is no public right to drive away from a Green Lane onto common or private land, moor land, sand dunes, or beaches.  You have been warned!


Pay attention to ‘the four W’s’ –

Respect the life of the countryside.  Be courteous to all other users, and take great care when passing other green lane users, especially horses.  Be prepared to stop your engine if needed.  Always fasten gates and take great care near livestock and other animals.  They have a right to be there too!!

Remember that wildlife faces many threats, and green lanes can be valuable habitats.  Take great care in spring and early summer.

Rights of Way and Restrictions.  Vehicles may legally be used on bye ways open to all traffic (BOATS) and unclassified roads (UCRs).  Some vehicular routes have been closed by Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) – You must obey the signs at both the beginning and ends of these routes. 

Do keep the vehicle in front and behind you in sight, but don’t tailgate each other.  If the vehicle behind has stopped, you should also to endeavour to find out what the problem is.  Do not drive in a manner that makes it hard for others in the group to keep up.

If you experience an irate user who is less then pleased to see you, try not to be confrontational.  Instead simply explain that you also have a legal right to be there and that you have noted their discontent.  Be polite to other users, you will never win an argument whilst you are either angry or discourteous.  Move on quietly and in extreme cases call the police to deal with any threatening behaviour, intimidation or other abuse. 

Keep all dogs under control.  Remember a dog worrying sheep is a real headache for any farmer.  It is his or her livelihood your dog is chasing and he does have the legal right to shoot your dog!!

Take your litter home with you.  You don’t appreciate seeing litter and neither do others.  Place cigarette butts in your ashtray, not in the countryside.  Apart from the obvious risk of fire, animals may eat them and suffer great distress.