Enjoy the countryside responsibly

Farming | Published:

Britain is a wonderful source of locations for a day visit, a weekend or a longer holiday.

But visitors to the countryside can come at a cost to those who live and work there. They are used to going about their daily business on quiet roads and seeing few people.

The fields on either side of rural roads are the farmer’s factory floor – whether it be grassland for livestock or crops for harvesting. Farmers cannot put a security fence around their farms with Keep Out notices like an industrial estate, but they do ask that their "place of work" is respected. When gates are left open, livestock can get out, be injured, cause accidents; crops can be ruined or a farmer’s livelihood can go up in smoke.

Thanks to Victorian mapmakers and modern signage, there is a complex network of rights of way across the country. Open access areas have been designated on commons and heathland, downs, moorland and mountain – and with modern technology, this information is available on apps. Visitors will enjoy their visit better if they do a little bit of homework before they leave home.

Enjoy the countryside responsibly. Take your litter home. Don’t start fires or fly-tip.

Sarah Norton is a retired rural dweller living near Shrewsbury

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