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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.
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 off-road runner and fellow member of Hastings Runners.
He says: "As with so many enjoyable pursuits walking and running in the countryside comes with a health warning! Seriously though we should remember that we share the countryside with many others, not least the animals providing us with milk, meat, wool and transport etc. 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 cows take care not to scare them by running/walking 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.
"Many sheep farmers are becoming increasingly worried by the growing number of sheep worrying incidents. Sheep experience acute distress when worried by unfamiliar dogs, particularly at lambing time, and when new born lambs are separated from their mothers it can then become very difficult to get them to "bond" properly again.
"Most people using a public footpath are potentially an asset to any farmer, as they can see if anything is obviously wrong with livestock or if an animal has fallen into a river etc. In such an instance do let the farmer know right away, even if he is just about to sit down to his Sunday lunch! And finally, do please enjoy the beauty of the countryside as it is there to be enjoyed by everyone!"