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Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside: Principles and Practice

By Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group

Leisure and recreational use of the countryside continues to increase, as do the often conflicting demands of a wide range of users.

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978-0-956984401 [A21]

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Leisure and recreational use of the countryside continues to increase, as do the often conflicting demands of a wide range of users.

Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside is a completely up to date guide for the owners and managers of open spaces, both urban and rural. It is produced by the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group and is firmly based on their practical experience. 


Members of the group include:


Broads Authority

Canal and River Trust


DECLG, Ireland

English Heritage

Environment Agency

Forestry Commission

Historic Scotland

The National Trust

The National Trust for Scotland


Natural England

Office of Public Works

Peak District National Park Authority

The Royal Parks

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Severn Trent Water

State Claims Agency

Waterways Ireland

The Woodland Trust

Yorkshire Water


The guiding principles and practical risk management techniques covered in this book have proved their worth in practice and have been endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive and recognised by courts as the basis for sensible risk management. The guiding principles have been adapted for use by the National Water Safety Forum and the National Tree Safety Group.

The advice will help anyone who invites members of the public onto:

moors, mountains and open countryside
parks and gardens, historic properties and archaeological remains
footpaths and waymarked trails
forests, country parks and nature reserves
waterways and coastlines
urban green space
visitor centres

The opening section of the book lays out the guiding principles that give managers the confidence to make decisions when balancing risk with benefits. It then shows you how to set about it in practice, with chapters on planning & organising and risk assessment. There are supporting chapters covering:

the role of information & education in risk control
incident reporting & investigation
emergency planning & procedures
the law & visitor safety.

As an example you can view the section on Guiding Principles here.

Individual case studies are also provided. Some other case studies are detailed on this website.


Over 3500 copies have been sold to 460 different organisations, including 26 government agencies, 112 local authorities, 38 national park authorities, regional and country parks, 37 nature, wildlife and conservation trusts, 42 country houses, farms and estates, 10 water companies and 11 navigation organisations. It is a reference work in over 100 universities, training centres and consultancies.

Comments on the first edition of Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside

Local authority and HSE inspectors will find it provides practical guidance to any organisation concerned with safe access to the countryside. It includes useful information on identifying and managing risks and on the application of the law to visitor safety.
Health & Safety Executive

Excellent and much needed. Will be immensely useful.
Exmoor National Park Authority

A well presented document. I, and colleagues, will find it useful. Many thanks.
Scottish Landowners Association

A very useful publication as it gives a national perspective on the subject and is valuable as a reference resource. It balances the need to comply with the relevant legislation with a practical common sense approach: this is what field staff are looking for.
Northern Ireland Forest Service

Very good publication. Brings all the right stuff together in one booklet. Nice to have something on safety specifically for countryside. Helpful in site management planning process.
Millenium Country Park


Review: SHP Magazine

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