Farms and smallholdings managed by the local authority on behalf of the community. Community farms provide an opportunity for children to learn about where food comes from and witness the hustle and bustle and all the elements of a working countryside farm within an urban setting.
The aim of countryside education is to foster an understanding of the ways in which living things, both plant and animal work together to shape the environment we live in. To achieve this outdoor classroom sessions in and around our visitor centres, in your local countryside, or in schools may be provided. Educational packs containing useful projects and worksheets may be provided.
Providing information about the facilities available in the local countryside and how to enjoy them
Countryside Management Projects care for the countryside through practical action. They rely on the active involvement of local communities - enabling people to play a vital part in looking after their local environment. Countryside Management focuses on nature conservation, access and informal recreation issues.
The countryside ranger service manages the countryside sites. The rangers carry out practical conservation work and environmental education in addition to organising events and activities.
The local authority in conjunction with partner organisations (wildlife trusts etc.) or volunteer groups may carry out surveys of the local countryside in order to determine the diversity and density of flora and fauna within the local environment.
Countryside visitor centres may provide facilities for the public to learn about the local area by means of exhibitions, talks and guided walks etc. Visitor centres may also provide refreshments and toilet facilities.
Volunteers may help to look after the local countryside in a variety of ways. These can include practical work such as repairing footpaths, helping at events, helping visitors to enjoy the area and carrying out visitor surveys.
Provision of information and advice to farmers or prospective farmers. Anyone who owns livestock has many legal responsibilities and the local authority can provide information on what is required under this legislation and to provide a contact for further, more specialised guidance and information if required.
Educational Study Centres or Field Centres which provide courses for schools and/or members of the public on topics related to the local environment, countryside and wildlife. Some Study Centres may provide residential accommodation for the duration of a course.
Advice and information on trees, woodland and tree-related issues to local organisations and the public. Where woodland/forests are on council owned land the local authority has a responsibility to maintain them in a way which is beneficial to the local environment and ensures public safety.
Open land owned by the local authority which may be used by the public for grazing animals. The precise use of the land (e.g. for horses, cattle etc.) may differ according to location and the local authority may issue grazing permits to limit the number of animals on the land.
Local nature reserves where wildlife is protected. Nature reserves are usually open to the public but may have restrictions at certain times or under other conditions (no bicycles, dogs etc.) to protect the wildlife
Some areas of the countryside, whether publicly or privately owned, may be designated as 'access land' which is open to the public for leisure activities. In England and Wales access authorities have been appointed to manage the opening-up of Access Land to the public. The Access Authority is responsible for identifying potential areas of Access Land and enforcing the opening of these areas; it is also responsible for improving and maintaining access to Access Land, e.g. by installing new gates or causing obstructions to be removed. In National Parks, the Access Authority is the relevant National Park Authority; elsewhere, it is the local highway authority. The Countryside Agency is responsible for maintaining the definitive map of Access Land.
Provision of land which may be used for agriculture or to keep livestock providing opportunities for persons with sufficient experience to be farmers on their own account. There are restrictions on the number of people who can be employed on a smallholding.