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Cushendun BeachCycling in Foyle Valley, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Green Travel Code

Ten simple steps towards a more sustainable holiday. 

1. Enjoy our local produce.  Support local farmers, enjoy the fresh, seasonal produce and keep food miles low, all at the same time.  It makes perfect sense to “eat local”.   

2. Travel sustainably.  With over 1000 miles of National Cycle Network, some of Europe’s most dramatic rail journeys and great public transport links, Northern Ireland is a fantastic destination for a car free holiday! More ideas on car free days out.

3. Teach children the Seashore Code:
a. Think before you touch – be gentle and don’t keep something out of the water for too long
b. Don’t take anything home apart from your rubbish – an empty shell could be a new home for a hermit crab
c. Leave anything that is firmly attached to the rocks where it is.

4. Reduce waste.  This can start while you’re packing your suitcase.  For example, choose rechargeable batteries, avoid disposable cameras and carry re-usable bags to avoid picking up more plastic carriers. 

5. Leave no trace (link to http://www.leavenotraceireland.org/ ) Rubbish isn’t just ugly, it is also dangerous for our wildlife.  Plastic items are the most common items collected on our beaches.  When swallowed by marine animals, such as turtles, they can result in starvation, poisoning and fatal stomach blockages.

6. Curb energy use.  It’s easy to reduce the amount of energy we use on holiday.  For example, turn off electrical equipment at the switch instead of leaving it on standby, switch off lights during and avoid washing towels and sheets every day. You could look for accommodation with a sustainable energy policy. Here are some suggestions on ‘green accommodation’.    

7. Watch your step!  To limit the effects of erosion, stay on designated trails where possible.  Try to avoid walking on fragile terrain such as sand dunes, moss, seedlings and flowering plants.  Leave gates as you find them (open or closed) and natural objects as they are. 

8. Respect farm animals and wildlife. It’s best not to feed wildlife as this damages animals’ health, alters natural behaviours and exposes them to predators.   When driving, reduce your speed on rural country roads and be patient with travelling livestock by pulling into the side of the road and stopping to let the animals pass by.  Watch or photograph animals from a distance to avoid startling them or forcing them to flee.  Avoid quick movements and direct eye contact which can be interpreted as aggression.  Don’t encircle, crowd, or attempt to pick up a wild animal.   Notify the local land manager if you find an injured animal or one in trouble. 

9. Non native species of plants and animals can cause major and irreversible changes to ecosystems by threatening native species over time.  Help prevent the spread of invasive species by emptying and cleaning backpacks, tents, boats, fishing equipment, vehicles and other gear after every trip to ensure that you are not transporting flowers, weeds or soil. 

10. Protect water sources.  If you’re camping outdoors, remember that soaps, toothpastes and detergents can affect water quality and ecosystems in rivers and lakes.  Reduce the potential impact by minimising use of these products and washing at least 30 metres from shorelines which allows the soil to act as a filter.

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