Farmers urge public to help care for the countryside as lockdown lifts

Amid the easing of some lockdown restrictions, farmers across Derbyshire are urging people heading into the great outdoors to help them care for the iconic landscape. 

Outdoor gatherings - including in private gardens - of either six people or two households are now allowed after the second phase of step one in the government's roadmap was activated this week, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside. 

Schools are also due to break up for the Easter holidays this week. 

As custodians of Derbyshire's stunning countryside, farmers want walkers, joggers and cyclists to help them ensure the beauty of the county’s rural areas - including in the High Peak - is preserved as they exercise outdoors.

Andrew Wood, the National Farmers' Union's Derbyshire county chairman, said: “During the pandemic when most people were stuck at home, the importance of the beautiful British countryside was brought into sharp focus, not only as a food producer but also as a place to escape the restrictions of lockdown.

“We welcome everyone who wants to explore the great outdoors but we also want to remind people that this stunning rural scenery is also a working environment, with farmers busy lambing and moving cattle to fresh pasture at this time of year, for example.

“Following simple rules like keeping to footpaths to avoid crop and wildflower damage, cleaning up dog mess and making sure your dog is on a short lead near livestock, is the easiest and most effective way of doing your bit to protect our countryside.

“If walkers, runners and cyclists stick to the Countryside Code, our rural areas can continue to be a refuge for many and a safe place to farm.” 

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