Visitor Safety Countryside Group - Guiding Principles


The Visitor Safety Countryside Group (VSCG) have kindly allowed us to place chapter 2 of their excellent 'Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside - Principles & Practice' on our website. The full guidance is available to buy on their website -

Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside is the established guide for owners and managers of open spaces, both urban and rural. First written in 2003 by members of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group it is now available in a brand new edition. It has been completely revised, expanded and brought right up to date to reflect the latest thinking on assessing benefits and risks. It is written with years of practical experience of VSCG members.

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. They underpin the code of practice for open farms, zoos, agricultural shows and other attractions where visitors have contact with animals.

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.

The principles apply to individuals and groups visiting land, water, buildings and other structures. They are relevant to parks, gardens, country parks, historic houses and monuments, canals and rivers in urban and rural areas, as well as open countryside, nature reserves and forests.

Visitors include people engaged in informal recreation as well as participants in various sports and activities. The principles are not intended to cover employee safety or the work of contractors.

They are grouped under five main headings.

  1. Fundamentals
  2. Awareness
  3. Partnership
  4. Responsibility
  5. Risk Control

Download 'Chapter 2 - Guiding Principles'