Farmers should be friendlier to walkers and 'accidental' trespassers, Government advises

Farmers are being urged by the Government to steer clear of shouting 'Get off my land' in favour of a friendlier approach asking trespassers if they are lost.

Government agency Natural England has published new guidance for land managers under the Countryside Code which also recommends using "friendly language" on signs to advise walkers on what they can and cannot do.

The guidance states: "If visitors are trespassing, ask them if they are lost and help them get back to paths or areas they are allowed on. Visitors rarely mean to trespass."

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It adds people acting in an antisocial way involving threatening behaviour, theft or damage to land or property should be reported to the police.

New guidance for land managers on how to deal with walkers has been published.

The new guidance also advises farmers to consider installing self-closing gates.

The new advice follows consultation with organisations including the National Farmers Union, Health and Safety Executive and the Country Landowners Association, with the intention being the creation of clear guidance for land managers that also "ensures the public can enjoy the countryside in a safe and respectful way".

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said: "With more people than ever before spending time in nature, this refreshed advice for land managers has never been more important in helping to ensure we work together to protect our outdoor spaces.

"I urge all land managers to follow this new advice and continue to help make nature accessible to everyone, so people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the invaluable health and wellbeing benefits that nature offers, while giving it the respect it deserves."

Natural England says most trespassers are acting unintentionally

Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs, said: "We want to ensure that nature is accessible for all, whilst also supporting people to do the right thing when they are visiting the countryside.

"The new advice in the Countryside Code will help farmers and land managers to help the public enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way. I am grateful to all of those stakeholders who have helped shape this updated guidance."

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