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We are told by the Countryside Code to "fasten all gates". However, one often disputed topic is what to do if the gate is open when you find it.

If the gate is open, it is probable that the farmer has opened it deliberately. He may want his cattle to have access to two fields, or he may be about to drive through it. Therefore, the gate should not be closed.

If you have just witnessed a careless walker open a gate and then leave the gate open, obviously you should close it, and possibly also catch up the walker, and remind them of the countryside code. However, in most circumstances, the rule is now:


If there is a sign on the gate saying "Please close the gate", and there is no visible attempt to prop the gate open, then you should close it. However, if a stone has been placed to close the gate, or there it has been tied back, then leave it.

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