The OPAL Code

Follow the OPAL Code – whether you're in a rural or urban location

When participating in our surveys or other outdoor activities, please remember to respect the environment and look after your own safety.

Plan your day

Where will your activity take place? Do you have permission to roam? Land and waterways may be privately owned and have access rights or restrictions in place to protect the habitats and wildlife. Make sure you have the landowner’s permission to enter a site before you set out.

Getting there

Take a map, GPS device or directions and make a note of where information centres are sited. This will come in useful should you need assistance. Do take notice of sign posts. If using a vehicle, only park in authorised spaces and try to avoid damage to grass verges and planted areas.

What’s the weather going to do?

Check the forecast before you leave. Some locations experience rapid changes in conditions so you should consider packing extra layers and waterproofs.

On site

OPAL seeks to protect and preserve the environment. Please respect habitats, flora and fauna when taking part in any of our activities. If you are conducting an experiment, please do not take samples of plants, trees or rocks. Removing them may cause damage to the food supplies and shelter of local wildlife. They may also be rare or even endangered.

Take any rubbish and leftover food away with you and dispose of it correctly. Littering is an offence. Cigarettes and matches can cause fires in vegetation, particularly in very dry weather, so be careful not to drop them.

Animals can behave unpredictably so give them plenty of space and respect their habitat. Many will behave aggressively if they feel their young are threatened.

Keep dogs under control or on a lead. They can damage the environment and cause stress to other animals. Do clean up after your dog; dog foul is unpleasant for others and can cause infection.

When you have finished your activities, don’t forget to leave gates as you found them.

Leave nature as you find it, to be enjoyed by others

Near water?

Be safe by taking notice of warning signs. Supervise children closely and keep a watchful eye on their activities.

In an emergency

Take a fully-charged mobile phone with you but bear in mind that signals may be weak in remote areas. Leave details of your location and expected time of return with somebody at home or with an information centre on site. If you get into difficulty, call for help or telephone 999.

Nature is there for us all to enjoy, protect and learn from. We hope these guidelines are helpful and enable you to make the most of the great outdoors while keeping safe.

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