2000 – The Countryside and Rights of Way Act came into being and with this the statutory duty for the Countryside Agency and Countryside Council for Wales (at the time) to issue a code of conduct for people using the new right of access.
2004 – A further revision of the Code (now styled The Countryside Code and Cod Cefn Gwlad in Welsh) was launched with a high profile (Aardman Animation/ Creature Comforts) campaign, coinciding with promotion of the new access rights under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Code with its new logo was designed to reassure land managers as the public rights of access began, and to make the public aware of their rights and their responsibilities across the whole countryside. The revised Code was produced through a partnership between the Countryside Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales.
In 2010, Aardman campaign came to end and the Code had minor refresh to include reference to coastal access – the extension of rights of access to the England Coast Path.
In 2010, Natural Resources Wales (formerly the Countryside Council for Wales) began developing a wider ‘Family of Codes’ to complement the Countryside Code, which includes: Dog Walking Code, Trail Users Code, Waterside Code, Canoeing Code, Angling Code and Wild Swimming Code. These codes, along with a suite of animations created in 2019 added strength and detail to support the Countryside Code.
In 2017 the House of Lords Select Committee review of the delivery of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act pointed out that Natural England had not actively updated the Code since 2006. Natural England, in partnership with Natural Resources Wales committed to a major review, originally planned for 2021 to coincide with the potential completion of the England Coast Path.
2021 marked the 70th Anniversary of the Countryside Code. The public Code was relaunched in April 2021 followed by the accompanying Land Managers Advice in February 2022. This signalled the start of a long-term campaign to promote the messages of the Code – your guide to enjoying parks and waterways, coast and countryside. View the launch video here