THE CLA is reiterating Government calls to limit outdoor exercise to once a day, and when they do so in the countryside, respect farming operations as key contributors to food on our plates.

The renewed call comes after numerous farmers have suffered abuse by walkers not sticking to footpaths, trampling on crops, and not keeping their dogs on leads around livestock. In one instance, a farmer on the outskirts of York was threatened with being infected with coronavirus.

The CLA, which represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural business across England and Wales, is urging walkers, cyclists and horse riders to stick to public rights of way, keep dogs under control and take their litter home. These are all avoidable crimes, putting undue stress on the animals, farmers and an already resource-stretched police forces.

CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn said: “It is totally unacceptable that farmers should suffer abuse by walkers trespassing on their fields. This is a real kick in the teeth to those working very hard to put food on our tables.

“First and foremost, people should maintain social distancing and not veer off sign-posted footpaths. The daily exercise regime should not be seen as a ‘free for all’ abuse of the countryside. Those using the countryside should, especially under current circumstances, be conscious that the countryside is also a place of work where the land, livestock, machinery, wildlife and environment must be respected.

“The Countryside Code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there are a few worrying trends either based on anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside.”

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside in England and Wales. It aims to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy the outdoors.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has also urged the public to observe the lockdown rules more closely and points out the very real possibility of tighter regulations if not.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “There is no doubt this lockdown is difficult and is taking its toll on the British people. We are all feeling the effect, and NSA completely understands the frustration and the want to get outside – particularly with the lovely weather. However, we mustn’t forget that the fields we’re walking across are where our food is produced, and by being there we put the people producing our food at risk.”

“By travelling to farms, visitors are risking passing on this dangerous virus to a food-producing farmer, and that is simply not acceptable. We all know the rules – and simply put, travelling to walk somewhere a car drive away from your home is not necessary. We implore the British public to obey these rules and respect other people’s homes and lives.”

The CLA has published a dedicated advisory and information page on the coronavirus; visit