Suzanne Benson talks about concerns for her working farm during coronavirus
Suzanne Benson talks about concerns for her working farm during coronavirus

Nidderdale Llamas joins other farmers urging people to avoid working farms

The livelihoods of people who work on the land is being put at risk by people straying away from public footpaths during the coronavirus outbreak.

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The livelihoods of people who work on the land is being put at risk by people straying away from public footpaths during the outbreak.

The plight of farmers whose work is being put in jeopardy by people walking across their fields and farmyards has been brought to the attention of North Yorkshire County Council.  The council is supporting their pleas for people to stay away, keep to public footpaths and not to travel onto farmland far from their own homes.

Suzanne Benson, who runs Llamas at is one of a number of farmers growing increasingly anxious about the threat caused by people getting lost and wandering in to farmyards.

Suzanne said:

The Way runs through our farm and even during the last few days we have had people getting lost and walking off the footpath across our fields and into our garden and farmyard.

I think some of them want to come and see the llamas but this means they are touching the farmyard gates and fences and many come right up to us to ask the way, ignoring the need for social distancing. We are very worried about the spread of infection and the risk to our lives as well as theirs and what this would mean for our business.

Richard Flinton, the County Council’s Chief Executive, said:

North Yorkshire is the largest rural authority in the country and the work of farmers and others from the land is vital to the wellbeing and sustainability of our communities.

Even today, when people have been ordered to follow the lockdown rules, we have been made aware of the risks to our farmers of people driving into the countryside and straying away from public rights of way, often across farmyards and fields.

The countryside is a working environment, as well as a source of recreation and during the outbreak our farmers and others working in rural areas have become increasingly worried by the numbers of people who continue, not only to drive in to the countryside but also to deviate from public footpaths.  This risks spreading infection to people working on the land.

We understand it is important for people to take exercise, but people should not be driving into the countryside and everybody needs to respect the working environment of our farmers.

Every single one of us has a crucial part to play and right now despite the improving weather, the most important thing we can do is stay at home and only take exercise from our doorstep.


Suzanne Benson said:

In normal times we want people to come to see our llamas and alpacas and we love to have visitors.  But not right now.  We want our business to be here still when coronavirus is over and so we are urging people to respect our space and lives, keep to footpaths, stay home, keep safe, help protect the NHS and save lives.

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1 Comment

  1. DEFRA Advice to Farmers:

    Tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.

    Temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools. (Note: this is a polite request only, and there is no power under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for landowners to close or obstruct a public right of way).

    Offering a permissive alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so (permission must be obtained from relevant landowners and steps must be taken to make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained. It is also necessary to check the insurance position before doing this to ensure that appropriate cover is in place.

    It’s difficult for all of us in these times – the evidence is that some farmers see themselves as an exception and are becoming too precious.
    HM Governments advice as of last week states that people are allowed to travel unlimited distance to exercise.

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