Call to respect Calderdale countryside as lockdown restrictions ease

Yorkshire’s Land Network,  which represents more than a third of the county’s countryside, is asking people to remember the Countryside Code as lockdown restrictions ease.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am

With gatherings of up to six people permitted outdoors, the network, which includes Yorkshire Water, the Forestry Commission and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, has urged people to continue to follow government guidelines and respect the countryside.

Crispin Thorn, Yorkshire and North East Forestry Commission director, said: “The easing of lockdown restrictions is welcome news and the prospect of meeting up with friends and family outside in larger groups will be a relief for many.

“We are expecting open spaces to be particularly busy once restrictions are eased and we enter a period of school holidays and bank holiday weekends.”

Widdop Reservoir

Mr Thorn said the county offers a “wide range” of opportunities for people to meet and socialise in green spaces and open countryside, but stressed it was important people were considerate of the environment.

“Visitors should make sure to follow the Countryside Code and take litter home with them, as well as adhering to the latest government Covid guidelines.”

Mr Thorn also raised the issue of disposable barbecues being the cause of wildfires.

“In recent years we have seen a number of damaging wildfires which are often started by disposable barbecues,” he said.

“The fires are a danger to life as well as local ecosystems, as they damage moorland, peat soils, trees and impact valuable habitats and wildlife such as birds, reptiles and insects.

“Landowners in Yorkshire are united in asking visitors not to set fires or use barbecues unless in a designated area.”

The Countryside Code, which can be found online, asks people to consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors, to leave gates and property as found and keep dogs under control.

Paul Duncan, Yorkshire Area Manager for Natural England, said that after careful management the moors are starting to show signs of recovery.

“The moors are greening over after the serious wildfire last year. Paths have been repaired and trees that were damaged by the fire have been made safe.

“We need visitors’ help to keep the National Nature Reserve safe for its wonderful wildlife.

“It’s really important people are aware of the Countryside Code and follow it, including protecting the natural environment by leaving no trace of your visit, taking all litter home, not having barbecues or fires, never discarding a lit cigarette and keeping dogs on a short lead.