Do follow requests on signs

They may be there to protect you, your dog, wildlife or other animals, or to allow land management, nature conservation or farming work to be carried out safely and easily.

Wildlife on heaths, downs, wetlands and other sensitive areas are particularly vulnerable at certain times of year so access to some areas may be managed with voluntary or formal restrictions, for example asking people to stay away from a particular part of a site or to keep dogs on the paths or on a lead. 

Some signs give important safety information – don’t ignore them – for example in the year 2012-2013 there was increased danger from cliff slips, mudslides and rockfalls on the Dorset coast due to the exceptional weather conditions, so signs asked people to keep off closed areas and highlighted that it is always safer to keep well away from the cliffs and mudslides if you’re walking on a beach.

It’s easy to overlook signs but do try to notice them and what they say, especially when visiting a new area or when a new sign appears; most land managers try to avoid putting unnecessary signs in the countryside so they may have an important message. Signs are often placed in car parks and at entrances to keep the rest of the space clear of them as much as possible, so it’s worth looking out for those too to keep yourself informed.