Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Widespread ewe-phoria as Shaun the Sheep becomes Countryside Code Champion [May 2023]

The press release issued by Natural England on 30 May 2023.

New campaign will encourage young people to “respect, protect and enjoy” the countryside.

Shaun the Sheep was today (30 May) revealed as the new champion of Natural England’s Countryside Code.

A new baa-rilliant campaign with Aardman will see the popular animated character encourage children and young people to “respect, protect and enjoy” the countryside. From Mossy Bottom farm, Shaun and friends will follow the Countryside Code and show children how to care for nature, follow signs and share the space with others.

It follows research from Natural England’s Children’s People and Nature Survey which revealed that 80% of children and young people agreed that looking after the environment was important to them, and 83% said they wanted to do more to look after nature and wildlife.

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said:

Shaun the Sheep and his endearing friends are the perfect illustration for the next generation of explorers on how to respect, protect and enjoy nature, whether in parks in towns and cities, at the seaside or in the countryside.

We know that children care deeply about the environment, and that 85% of children feel happy spending time outdoors – so it’s really important that we help young people enjoy the invaluable health and wellbeing benefits that nature offers, while giving it the respect it deserves.

Since the Covid 19 pandemic, more people have experienced the joys of nature – whether spotting rare birds across the network of National Nature Reserves or walking through grasslands and saltmarshes along the recently renamed King Charles III England Coast Path.

In response to more people wanted to visit the countryside and green spaces, Natural England refreshed the Countryside Code and updated guidance for land managers giving everyone access to guidance on how to enjoy the great outdoors safely and responsibly.

Under the updated guidance which extends to all green space, waterways and parks in cities, people are encouraged to “be nice, share the space and say hello” to fellow users of the countryside. The code has simple reminders to respect those working in the countryside, to dispose of litter responsibly; avoid feeding livestock; to not light fires; and to stay on marked footpaths to protect crops and wildlife.

Rachael Peacock, Senior Brand Manager at Aardman, said:

It’s great to be working with Natural England on this engaging and informative Countryside Code campaign.

Living on Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun’s connection to the countryside makes him a baa-rilliant and fun ambassador for nature, and we look forward to encouraging families to enjoy the outdoors respectfully.

Natural England and Aardman have created a suite of assets to help inform children and young people about the messages of the code, and how to ensure the outdoors is a place for everyone to enjoy. The assets will be hosted online and available for download in use across promotional materials.

Follow our social media channels and see where Shaun’s next countryside adventure will take him.