Please respect the working life of the countryside, as our actions can affect people's livelihoods, our heritage, and the safety and welfare of animals and ourselves.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave, and don't be afraid to turn back if necessary.
- Follow the public footpaths wherever possible; particularly when crossing fields where crops are growing. Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries when provided. Climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them, and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.
- Leave gates as you find them - a farmer will normally leave a gate closed to keep livestock in, but may sometimes leave it open so that they can reach food and water.
- Leave machinery and livestock alone, but alert the farmer if you think that an animal is in distress.
- Litter and leftover food not only spoils the beauty of the countryside, but can be dangerous to livestock and wildlife; so please take your litter home with you.
- Dog walkers - by law you must control your dog so that it doesn't scare or disturb farm animals and wildlife. On most areas of open country and common land, known as "access land", you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1st March and 31st July.... and all year round near farm animals. Not only are dogs liable to be shot by a farmer for sheep worrying, but the animals would be shocked and could lose their young. Moreover a dog running amongst cattle is likely to be kicked or even trampled to death. If a farm animal/s chases you and your dog, then it is safer to let the dog off the lead and make for the nearest exit!
- Drive carefully, especially on narrow country lanes.
A FARMER'S PERSPECTIVE
Pett farmer Tim Jury is well placed to advise on the countryside, having farmed livestock for many years and also being a keen runner and fellow member of Hastings Runners.
He says: "Please enjoy the beauty of the countryside as it is there to be enjoyed by everyone! Your main concern should be for your own safety and those with you, so when passing through a field with animals such as horses and cattle take care not to scare them by running through their midst. Better to deviate where necessary from the footpath and skirt round a herd or flock; walk or run slowly and steer clear of individual animals that have young, especially cows and their new born calves. It is very rare for animals to attack anyone, unless they are protecting their young."