As Brits prepare to lace-up their boots and spend time walking or camping in nature, Cotswold Outdoor is encouraging budding explorers and their families to look after the landscapes they love and enjoy the outdoors more sustainably.  

So that everyone can make the most of everything the natural world has to offer – now and for many years to come – the experts at Cotswold Outdoor have shared their five top tips for ‘outdoor etiquette’. 

Treading the beaten path?

It’s time to get muddy! The best way to look after trails is to walk straight through any puddles, rather than forming a new path around, as this further erodes the landscape. Social distancing can make path sharing tricky, so gently stepping aside rather than walking on untrodden ground is the best approach.

However, in certain environments, treading the beaten path isn’t advised. On moorlands, the boggy and mossy ground underfoot is a delicate barrier to keep the peat filled soil below intact. When exposed to the atmosphere, the harmful greenhouse gas, CO2, can escape. So, when you’re exploring the moorland wilderness, it’s best to go your own way rather than using previous trails.

A hiker walking in the English Lake District, UK.

Wildlife neighbourhood watch

Remembering that we are entering the ‘home’ of wildlife and livestock is key to creating harmony while exploring nature. Birds and animals are easily disturbed and can become stressed when humans enter their environment, especially when there’s a lot of noise – so keep your distance where possible and keep dogs on a lead when advised to. Keep a look out for accidental litter – the smallest piece of glass, a stray plastic bag or tin can be extremely dangerous for livestock and wildlife.

Little boy and girl looking into their fishing net at the wildlife they have found.

Leave no trace

Treating the landscape with respect is the easiest and most important step to keep our environment intact. Aside from taking litter home, always pack away any leftover picnic food.  To preserve the beauty of nature, it’s equally important to leave everything behind in its natural condition. Just bring home amazing photos and memories, rather than filling your pockets with souvenirs found in nature such as flowers, seeds, and rocks.

A wealth of advice is also available on the National Parks UK website,, where you can also learn more about the ongoing Green Recovery projects.

Sleep under the stars sustainably

Whether you choose to pitch up in the wilderness or within a formal campsite which supports the local economy, there are some easy ways to ensure a sustainable stay. If you find a spot off the beaten track for camping, make sure you have the landowner’s permission to pitch up, choose sturdy ground to avoid any damage to the environment and stay for one night only. Campfires and barbecues can be damaging to delicate mountain landscapes, so opt for a camping stove instead and don’t use any open flames during high fire risk periods.

For further tips and advice on camping sustainably and reducing the impact it has on the natural environment, visit The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) website

Answering the call of nature

When nature calls, the best approach is to find a space away from pathways and at least 50m away from a water source to ensure no unnecessary pollution. Ideally scoop and remove any waste into a paper bag, then dispose of the contents in a bin. Alternatively, use a trowel to dig a small hole and bury without the paper bag. Also never leave any toilet roll behind, simply bag it up and dispose of it as usual.

Jose Finch, Managing Director at Outdoor and Cycle Concepts Ltd., parent company of Cotswold Outdoor, said: “It’s long been said that doing good does you good. Now we’re all spending more time outdoors and many of us are gearing up for outdoor adventures this summer, it’s never been more important to be kind to the environment while we walk, camp, and explore.  As advocates for and experts in the outdoors, protecting the planet and the natural world is a priority for us and we want to help people enjoy the outdoors in a sustainable way.”

Cotswold Outdoor has been preparing people to discover the great outdoors for over 40 years. It is on a sustainability mission of its own, having launched a Repair and Care service which helps maintain outdoors kit that needs a little TLC, and a Recycle My Gear service which allows customers to recycle certain pieces of kit.  Both services are available at Cotswold Outdoor stores. Find out more here:    

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