Ahead of the Easter break, NFU Cymru is urging people accessing the Welsh countryside for exercise to act responsibly and in line with the latest public health guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The public health guidance allows people to go outside for exercise once a day provided that they, or no member of their household, is displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
- Not travel
- Exercise alone or with members of their household, keeping two metres apart at all times
- Be vigilant with hand washing and hygiene
- Not undertake new or risky activities
- Follow the Countryside Code
NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board Chair, Hedd Pugh said: “We understand the positive contribution that access to our beautiful Welsh countryside can make to emotional and physical well-being, especially at this time of crisis. However, it is important that the latest public health guidance is followed so that the risks can be minimised.
“With the closure of key visitor ‘hotspot’ areas in Wales in recent weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of visitors to access land and rights of way in other areas. It is important to remember that the countryside is a working environment for farmers who continue to feed and care for their livestock and grow crops to produce food for our nation.
“Greater visitor numbers have been a cause for concern and high levels of anxiety within some farming families, particularly where public footpaths are located in close proximity to farmhouses, buildings and yards. In some instances, family members may be in self-isolation due to displaying Coronavirus symptoms or falling into a vulnerable group. We are urging people to follow the guidance and not to travel for the protection of everyone”.
To assist farmers, NFU Cymru has developed signs that can be used where public rights of way pass through gardens and farmyards. The first sign makes members of the public using the right of way aware that they can use an alternative permitted path and the second sign makes members of the public aware that the path is in close proximity to people’s homes and families. NFU Cymru members can download Welsh language and English language versions of the signs from the NFU Cymru website.
Mr Pugh added: “In recent years, we have also seen dog attacks on farm animals become an increasing problem on Welsh farms, frequently resulting in horrific and often fatal injuries. Even if a dog doesn’t make contact, the distress of the chase can cause sheep to die and miscarry their lambs. We urge dog owners to control their dogs, particularly at this time of year when sheep are lambing. In line with the Countryside Code, dogs should be under effective control and on a short lead around livestock and only released if you feel threatened. Dog waste should also be cleared up and disposed of properly to reduce the risk of disease to farm animals,”