Please stay at home this May bank holiday weekend … The countryside is not your playground during #lockdown

With many parts of the UK set for fine weather over the May bank holiday weekend, many people might be tempted to ignore the lockdown guidelines and head into the countryside. 

However, the message from those of us who manage rural estates is loud and clear … please Stay Home, Stay Safe, ProtectTheNHS and Save Lives.

Despite government rules, land managers are still encountering walkers and cyclists who are flouting the rules in the mistaken belief that the countryside remains their playground during lockdown.

This bank holiday weekend, don’t be the person who thinks: “I’ll take a drive to the countryside and get some peace and quiet to walk the dog.” Don’t be the person who thinks: “It’s the bank holiday, let’s stay at the holiday house.” And don’t be the person who thinks it’s okay to mountain bike with friends.

Our land managers - especially those working across Scotland, Lake District, Yorkshire and Northumbria - heard all these excuses over the Easter holiday period and the situation remains unchanged … unnecessary trips to the countryside are still unacceptable for the foreseeable future.

This means that, during the current emergency, everyone should:

• Stay local – please do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area.

• Maintain your distance – please stay at least two metres away from other people and if possible try to avoid busy times on popular paths or places.

• Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land – please follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas, such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas.

• Keep your dog under control – please put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock.

• Avoid contact – try to avoid touching surfaces and if possible plan a route that does not require you to open gates.

Thankfully, it’s only a small minority of people who are ignoring the lockdown rules, and I’d like to thank those who are acting responsibly and staying local in accordance with the current guidance.

Staying at home may be tough, but it’s worth remembering this situation is temporary and the countryside will be here when lockdown is lifted.

Malcolm Taylor

Rural Land Management
Tel: 01307 462 516

Article posted on 06/05/2020

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