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Getting the most out of the Vale of the White Horse Countryside

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Getting the most out of the Vale of the White Horse Countryside

Whilst the weather this school summer holiday has been a bit and hit miss, we are blessed with some fantastic landscapes that provide hours of family-fun whatever the weather throws at us.

So that everyone can enjoy the countryside, it is worth remembering the Countryside Code so that we all can continue to enjoy the Vale of the White Horse.

It is all about respecting our open spaces and the needs of local people, so for example, do not block gateways, driveways or other paths when parking.  When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals and give them plenty of room.  Where practical, keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer.

Farmers will normally close gates to keep farm animals in.  Sometimes they leave them open so the animals can reach food and water.  The simple rule to follow is to leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs.  Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries if you can.  Climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.

Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals, so always take your litter home with you.  Protecting the natural environment means taking special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees.  They provide homes and food for wildlife, and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside.

When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control.  Ideally you should:

  • Keep your dog on a lead.

  • Keep it in sight at all times.

  • Ensure it does not stray off the path.

Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly by ‘bagging it and binning it’.

You’ll get more from your visit if you refer to up-to-date maps or guidebooks and websites before you go.  Check weather forecasts before you leave.  As the saying goes, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes”!

We were lucky enough to enjoy a lazy Sunday breakfast perched on Dragon Hill and it was a fantastic reminder of how lucky we are to live and work in such a beautiful part of Oxfordshire.

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