West Berkshire Council

Respect our Parks and Open Spaces

Parks and open spaces have been enjoyed by a huge number of people since the country first went into lockdown in March 2020.

Respect our Parks and Open Spaces
Respect our Parks and Open Spaces

Why we created our 'Respect our Parks and Open Spaces' campaign

The increased usage has led to a lot more waste being left behind, exceeding anything the Council's Countryside Team and parish councils have had to deal with ever before. Litter bins aren't designed to manage all the rubbish generated from barbeques and picnics - so they quickly become full.

Another issue is that not everyone is familiar with the Countryside Code and some people unwittingly trespass onto private land. The Council has received reports of picnics, and even games of golf, taking place in farmers' fields.

This general lack of awareness has caused problems for landowners. Dogs straying from Public Rights of Way are a serious threat to wildlife and farm animals. Cyclists are riding on public footpaths and off-road vehicles are damaging land.

The Countryside Code has recently been updated and includes advice and guidance on how to share our great outdoors safely, without breaking any rules or inconveniencing others. The 'Respect' campaign highlights some of the areas covered in the Code. 

The campaign is designed to:

  • Encourage people to take their rubbish and dog waste home and dispose of it in their own rubbish bins.
  • Highlight that farmland is private property and that straying from Public Rights of Way can cause damage to crops. 
  • Ask people to keep their dogs close, preferably on a lead, when using Public Rights of Way to ensure that they can't chase wildlife and livestock.
  • Remind people to check safety advice and permissions, and plan activities carefully to avoid accidents.

We consulted local charities, voluntary and community groups and parish ocuncils to get their ideas on what messages and images we should use to get noticed by their communities and, as a result, developed colourful vinyl banners to put in our parks and playgrounds - in some areas they are joint branded with the local parish council's logo. 

The campaign will go live on social media on 1 June to coincide with the first day of summer. Banners will appear outdoors soon after.

Look out for the banners in your local area and post a photo on social media of yourself with a banner  #GreatPlaceToLive. Most importantly, please remember to:

Enjoy our open spaces
Respect other users
Take your rubbish home

Thank you.

Find out about litter-picking programmes in the area.