Walking to Respect the Environment
Whether we're out walking on a local footpath or trekking in the Alps, there are some basic recommendations to ensure that we all respect our environment and our fellow walkers and leave it untarnished for the next person or group to enjoy. This is the basis of a sustainable approach to walking. Here are a number of suggestions we can all do when out walking to help preserve the places we love.
Keeping it clean
Don't leave any trace of your passage - with the possible exception of your steps! Make sure you don't leave any rubbish lying around (be careful when having lunch in windy conditions as plastic sacks can easily blow away) and take it away with you. Place rubbish in bins back at the car park or better still take it home and recycle and compost where possible.
Respect the silence
There are two very good reasons not to make undue noise when you're out in the countryside. The first is the effect on animals. Wild animals are not used to loud noises and it will cause them to move territory which in turn could disrupt their behaviour and even put their survival at risk. Farm animals may also react violently to loud noise. The second reason is for the respect and enjoyment of other walkers.
Don't pick flowers
Don't pick flowers growing in the wild. Some flowers are rare and are protected species, so not only would you be helping to destroy a local habitat, you could also be fined!
Stick to the paths
Stay on the paths. Walking outside of the marked routes can cause unnecessary erosion of the soil and lead to scarring the landscape. The reduction in plant cover in certain zones could also increase surface run-off and lead to problems of flooding. In addition, walking outside of the paths may harm plants and insects.
Respect protected areas
Different zones are designated for different reasons such as the wildlife, the beauty or leisure. Each zone, reserve or park has its own regulations. Before you go on your walking trip, find out more information about the area you're going to and about the possible rules that govern your passage. Such rules may relate to wild camping, lighting fires, etc. In addition, never enter areas that are fenced off.
Make sure that gates are closed behined you, so as to ensure that animals remain where they should be and also out of respect for the land owner.
When out in the countryside, don't light a fire unless you have a very good reason to do so. In certain areas fires are forbidden. In addition, certain regions such as the south of France are susceptible to wild fires and every year thousands of hectares of forest burn due to negligent acts. Prolonged dry conditions can also make areas that are not normally at risk such as the moors of the UK, susceptible to fires.
Where possible try to use more sustainable modes of transport to get to your walk, such as public transport or park and ride schemes which are available in some popular regions. If there are several walkers in your group but you wish to use your car, then car share.
More information on how High Point Holidays ensures its tours are responsible can be found on our responsible travel page.