Clean Devon – Leave only footprints, take litter home.
With over 3,000 miles of public rights of way, fantastic coastlines, wild moorland, lush forests and charming villages and towns, it is easy to see why Devon is such as popular place to live and visit at any time of year.
However, these ‘natural’ environments of which we are so familiar, are always changing as the result of natural and human impacts. In fact, the landscape we see today is very different from what it once was. Who would have thought that Dartmoor was once an ancient forest?
When it comes to reducing our impact on the climate, change can be good, and necessary. With an ambition to protect and restore at least 30% of Devon’s land and water by 2030 and some recent big and bold examples of habitat restoration such as the Lower Otter Restoration Project or Torridge River Restoration Project, humans can protect, restore and improve the environment for future generations.
As well as these big-budget ambitious environmental improvement works, it’s important to adjust our own behaviour too. We can all contribute to truly transform our environment for the benefit of ourselves and nature. Managing our own rubbish is a very easy and powerful start.
Stepping off a bike, bus or train at a new destination is exciting, with tantalising sights sounds and smells. Gentle waves lapping a sparkling sandy beach, or fresh wind on your face as you set out on an adventure into the wilderness. Glorious! However, you don’t usually need to walk far before you are face-to-face with a bag of dog poo hanging from a tree, or a plastic bottle buried in the sand. By the end of the day, many of these once pristine environments need a team of staff to clear away the day’s accumulated litter.
In more remote locations, there are no staff to clear up after others, so the litter remains, causing a long-term hazard to flora, fauna, and livestock as more and more litter accumulates.
This unsightly and entirely avoidable mess could be reversed with a bit of consideration of our collective actions. Simply taking an empty carrier bag for the day’s rubbish is one easy way to be prepared and make a huge difference.
We know that being outdoors and in-touch with nature is an essential aspect of wellbeing and good mental health, so the cleaner our environment – air, water, and land – the better we are because of it. When out and about, always follow the Countryside Code and use the Big Green Day Out – Recycle Devon pledges to help you make good choices now and in the future.
Always leave the places you visit cleaner than when you arrived by picking up just one extra piece of litter – ‘leave only footprints, take litter home’.
If there is no bin, take it with you. If you see litter or fly tipping, report it.
Published July 2023.