The Country Code dates back to the 1930s; the Countryside Code replaced it in 2004, and according to the government's own publications website was updated (they say first published) in August 2014. The most obvious difference between the 1981 Country Code (published by the Countryside Commission) and the 2004 update was the removal of the requirement to fasten all gates, being replaced by the message of leaving all gates and property as you find them.
Despite all the changes, at the heart of the code is still a goal of safe, respectful enjoyment of the natural environment, and of others who live or work there (human or otherwise). The 12 points of the original Country Code have now been distilled to six points under three key areas, and are remarkably easy to remember:
Respect. Protect. Enjoy
Respect other people
- Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
- Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available
Protect the natural environment
- Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home
- Keep dogs under effective control
Enjoy the outdoors
- Plan ahead and be prepared
- Follow advice and local sign
A very nice pdf with extra detail about each point is available from the government pages.