Farmers and walkers urged to work together

The CLA is urging farmers and walkers to work together as crops are being damaged as a result of people not keeping to public footpaths.

Our advice is to use a decent pair of wellies or walking boots and stick to the route of the footpath.

CLA Midlands Director Mark Riches
Spreading footpath
Photo: Megan Lock

19 January 2021

The CLA is urging farmers and walkers to work together as crops are being damaged as a result of people not keeping to public footpaths.

With the nation still in lockdown, many people are finding solace in taking a walk in the countryside; but farmers across the country are reporting increasing damage to crops and wildlife habitats caused by walkers not following the Countryside Code

CLAMidlands Director Mark Riches said: “Especially during current times people to want to enjoy the countryside. They are of course welcome and we encourage people to enjoy the thousands of miles of footpaths available to them. But we do need to work together to ensure the public can have an enjoyable time while also protecting farmland, animals and wildlife.

“Land is very wet at the moment and likely to get worse, with heavy rain forecast, and with so many walkers enjoying the countryside, public footpaths have become very muddy.

"Unfortunately, that means many are circumnavigating the mud and walking over planted crops, damaging food crops and impacting farmers’ businesses.

"Farmers are working hard to feed the nation so let’s help them by sticking to the public right of way and following the Countryside Code."

There are 150,000 miles of public footpaths in Great Britain, much of which is maintained by landowners and farmers across the country for the public’s benefit.

Members of the CLA, which represents 30,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, also warned of an increasing problem with dog attacks on livestock, with several reports of sheep being killed by dogs that had been let off their leads on open farmland.

CLA Members who are experiencing issues, or would like advice on how best to manage public access across their land should contact their regional office.

Key contact:

Mike Ashton
Mike Ashton Midlands Regional Communications Manager