Natural England is re-launching the Countryside Code – the refreshed version gives updated advice on rights of way, controlling dogs around livestock and wildlife, and preventing fires. Natural England, the Moorland Association, the National Farmers Union and the Ramblers are all encouraging people to read the Code to help them enjoy, respect and protect the countryside:
Enjoy the outdoors – Even when going out locally, it’s best to get the latest information about where and when you can go. For example, access to some areas of open access land and coastal land may be restricted in particular places at particular times. Find out as much as you can about where you are going, plan ahead and follow advice and local signs.
Protect the natural environment – We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don’t harm animals, birds, plants or trees and take home everything you brought with you. When out with your dog make sure it is under effective control, and does not disturb farm animals, horses, wildlife or other people.
Respect other people – Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors. Remember that the countryside is a working environment and even small actions can lead to big disruption. Leave gates as you find them and take extra care to avoid the risk of starting wildfires.
For more information on Natural England please click here
With record numbers of applications this year for the European Outdoor Conservation Association’s (EOCA) funding round, the association is asking the public to get involved in helping decide which conservation projects to support in 2012. Following a total of 31,000 votes across Europe last year and 74 application for funding this year, EOCA is again working with several magazines, which will be showcasing the shortlisted projects and asking readers to choose the projects they feel are most deserving of funding. Divided into 3 categories – nature, outdoor and alpine, the public will be able to vote for one project in each category with the results being announced online during April, and officially announced, along with projects chosen by EOCA members in July. With 100% of funds raised going directly into conservation projects, EOCA and its members also hope by the summer to be able to announce the raising of its first €1 million since its inception just 6 years ago. For more information on the projects in each category and to vote, go to www.outdoorconservation.eu, where you can vote immediately,
The European Outdoor Conservation Association is an initiative from the European outdoor industry with the objective of protecting the wild areas it cares so passionately about.
The image shows the Kongu waterfall in Ivindo National Park, Gabon. Although the tropical forest along the Ivindo river and magnificent Kongou waterfall was declared a national park in 2003, its future is still uncertain unless consistent conservation activities can be put in place that can give the area an economic value in the eyes of the Gabonese government. It is proposed that regular wildlife surveys and the development of local wealth through tourism would add substantial economical value to the area, contributing to its preservation. Creation of new ecotourism opportunities through foot and bike trails and training of locals as guides, as well as surveys to assess the richness of the biodiversity of the primary forest would be carried out. See more at www.trusttheforest.org
People across England are being encouraged to get out on the water this Spring with the launch of Go Canoeing which aims to demonstrate to the nation how fun, social and accessible canoeing can be.
Go Canoeing offers a range of exciting activities to get people enjoying the inland waterways. Sue Hornby, Director of Development at Canoe England, said, “Canoeing is one of the UK’s most popular watersports and we want to open up this activity to a wider audience. There is little that can beat a leisurely paddle down a river on a beautiful sunny day and we want as many people as possible to experience this. There are currently about 1.2 million adults in the UK canoeing every year and just over 1% of households own a canoe or kayak. We hope that raising the profile of the sport and enabling more people to try it will increase these figures and also encourage people to participate on a more regular basis.”
The starter sessions, many offered free of charge by clubs and centres around the country, provide the perfect introduction to canoeing for adults and children. Many clubs and centres can provide the necessary equipment and sessions are supervised by a fully qualified canoe instructor. Those interested in taking up canoeing as a new hobby can book a follow up session and have the option of signing up for a course at a local club.
Brand new for 2012 are guided tours which are taking place at 14 locations around the country; they are aimed at adults and families who have already done some canoeing to help them discover new places to paddle with help from Go Canoeing guides. A half day tour includes supervision from a fully qualified Go Canoeing Leader and costs start from £20 per person.
“Two types of guided tour are on offer”, adds Howard Blackman, Head of Participation at Go Canoeing. “Firstly there is the ‘Explore’ tour. This is perfect for those who want to discover the waterways and enjoy the scenery and countryside from a tranquil perspective. Secondly there is the ‘Escape’ tour, aimed at those who are looking for a steady-paced paddle and a little more adventure.”
National Go Canoeing Week takes place from 6 – 15 April 2012. It features 10 days of canoeing activities across the country and is open to people of all abilities. The week also marks the launch of the new website www.gocanoeing.org.uk which provides a onestop-shop for those looking to get into the sport. Find out where to go and how to get started, hints and tips for taking to the water, recommendations for canoeing routes and details of local activities and events.
Howard Blackman continues: “Canoeing has something for everyone; all ages and abilities can experience the adventure and excitement of the water sport. Many people would have taken to the water on holiday or during an activity day; through the Go Canoeing starter sessions and tours we hope to attract these people back on to the water, more frequently. As the excitement builds for this summer’s Games, we’re confident that Britain’s success at canoeing will also encourage the nation to give the sport a try.”