Calderdale Council is reminding visitors to the borough’s outdoor spaces or countryside sites to act responsibly and respect the local environment, people and animals.
As more people spend time outdoors enjoying the Calderdale countryside, walking, running or cycling, it’s important to remember The Countryside Code(external link) to help to look after the environment. The code has been revised since COVID-19 to include guidance around safely sharing the space with other users and planning ahead to check what facilities are open.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Susan Press, said:
“Although most users of our outdoor spaces do so sensibly, we want to remind people that as well as looking after the environment it’s also important to be considerate of others.
“Many of our sites, bridleways and footpaths have been busier recently and it’s great that people are being active, but we all have a responsibility to consider local communities and be aware of other people also enjoying the countryside.
“The Countryside Code sets out a number of ways we can all respect, protect and enjoy the outdoors. It’s also important to follow COVID-19 guidance – remember to check opening restrictions before travelling and continue to follow social distancing guidelines.”
Many countryside facilities in Calderdale are still closed based on Public Health advice. This includes the toilets, shop and Visitor Centre at Ogden Water and Jerusalem Farm’s campsite and toilets. Parking at many sites is also extremely limited and visitors should not park on grass verges or block in local residents – leave the car at home if possible.
Whilst the majority of visitors have been respectful to the environment, there are continued issues with littering at some sites and the Council is urging people take their rubbish home.
Calderdale has around 125 miles of bridleway and these routes are increasingly popular with both walkers and cyclists. To ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe and pleasant experience it’s important to be considerate of other users and be aware that these routes may be busier than normal.
For those travelling by bike this means slowing the pace when approaching other users and if cycling off-road or mountain biking, sticking to bridleways and refrain from using footpaths or creating tracks in woodland. There are some great off-road route guides that utilise bridleways available at https://www.cyclecalderdale.co.uk/route/(external link) and bespoke routes can be created for a range of abilities at firstname.lastname@example.org
When out walking in the countryside it is important to remember that it is a working environment where animals graze. Walkers should be mindful of their surroundings, be vigilant and stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves.
The Council also continues to work with partners at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and West Yorkshire Police to enforce Public Space Protection Orders in areas of the countryside to prevent fires. These orders prohibit the lighting of fires, barbecues, sky lanterns or anything that causes a fire risk – failure to comply is a criminal offence.
People are still advised to stay at home as much as possible, this is the single most important thing to do to protect the NHS and care homes and save lives. If leaving home, people should follow the Government guidance on staying safe outside your home(external link) , this includes socially distancing from those outside your own household at all times.
It’s also incredibly important to maintain good hygiene by washing your hands(external link) with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face and follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it(external link)’ guidance. If using parks for picnics it’s recommended that visitors bring their own hand sanitiser gel or wipes, as hand-washing facilities are unavailable.