Landowners are encouraging visitors to enjoy the Horsham district countryside over the Easter break, and are asking that they follow the Countryside Code to respect the land and those who live and work there.
The Country Land and Business Association is asking walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and other users to follow the code: stick to footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way and respect the countryside across the South-East as a workplace for farmers, foresters and other rural enterprises.
CLA director South East Robin Edwards said: “Easter is a great time for people to enjoy the South East countryside – from coast and meadows to woodland, hills and heaths, the spectacular and varied landscape is one of the great pleasures of living in the region.
“It is also an important part of our tourist industry, and helps encourage a wider understanding of rural life, food production, and the rural economy.
“Ahead of the long Easter weekend, we are asking that all visitors are conscious that the countryside is also a place of work where the land, livestock, machinery, wildlife and environment need to be respected.
“Many visitors already leave gates and property as they find them, follow paths and signs, and take any litter home.
“One of the behaviours that cause the most concern for farmers is when dogs are not kept under strict control. Pregnant ewes can lose lambs and wild birds will abandon their nests if disturbed by dogs.
“Cows with calves can become agitated and attempt to defend their offspring from what they view as a predator.
“If you are anywhere near livestock, we ask that you keep your dog on a lead – even the best-trained family pet can chase livestock and wildlife if not kept under close control.
“Landowners and farmers work hard to make it easy for people to enjoy the countryside safely, and we welcome responsible visitors to the countryside over the Easter break.”