Codes of conduct

Moorland visitor’s code

Moorland visitor’s code

The moorland visitor’s code, which shares the key messages of the countryside code, has been produced by the Moorland Access Advisory Group, with funding from the Government and the Moorland Association. 

Respect… protect… enjoy

Heather covered moorland looks stunning, especially in August and September when in full purple bloom and people are drawn to their great open landscapes. The right of access to Open Country welcomes walkers to ‘mountain, moor, registered common land, heath and down’ – and with rights, come responsibilities – naturally.

  • Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Prevent uncontrolled moorland fires
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Consider other people

Heather moorlands

Britain has 75% of the world’s remaining heather, and it is these heather moorlands that provide some of the last safe havens for ground nesting birds such as curlew, lapwing, merlin, golden plover and black grouse. As a result, the law protects most of these moorlands.


Even though it may appear so, moorland is not wild and looks the way it does due to management – it is used to graze sheep and/or cattle and, where there is a predominance of heather, it is likely that the area is managed for red grouse. Moorland management for grouse shooting plays a big part in conserving one of the most important and unique habitats in Europe – for us all to enjoy. For these wildlife and management reasons, at times, some moorland areas will be subject to ‘restrictions’ such as keeping your dog on a short lead and following paths and tracks.

Our moorlands are there for us to enjoy, and by being informed and responsible visitors, we can all play our part in conserving our unique heather heritage and its wildlife for future generations.