THE representative of countryside businesses has urged people to act responsibly in the countryside this weekend.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has issued a plea for people to stick to footpaths and bridleways, and respect other users of rights of way.

They are also calling for people not the leave their litter behind.

The CLA say that whilst the majority of people adhere to the spirit of the Countryside Code, there are "a few worrying trends", based on anti-social behaviour or lack of awareness.

These include littering, fly-tipping, straying from designated rights of way and mismanagement of dogs.

Ann Maidment, CLA Director South West said: “We fully recognise that the nation will want to make the most of our beautiful countryside following lockdown restrictions being eased.

“Those using the countryside should, especially under current circumstances, be conscious that it is also a place of work where the land, livestock, machinery, wildlife and the environment must be respected.

“Following advice from Defra and Public Health England, we urge the public, when on their daily exercise, to maintain social distancing requirements, keep dogs away from livestock, leave gates as they find them and to stick to the designated paths, following any signs.

“We also reiterate our earlier message requesting the public to be aware of the risk of wildfire and not throw lit cigarette ends from vehicles and to use disposable barbecues responsibly.

“We are also calling on the public to be pragmatic and avoid hot-spot tourist areas that are particularly busy this time of year. It’s important that we all act responsibly and check car parks, for example, are open before travelling and to turn back if they are busy. We discourage people from parking on verges or in front of farm gates. The countryside will be here for you to enjoy another day.”