We seem to have missed spring because of lockdown and now it’s June and the restrictions are only just being lifted.
We have seen a surge in the numbers of people walking our footpaths - many more than usual and, pleasantly, we’ve had no problems with gates not being closed or litter strewn, so thank you!
While it’s so dry, there is a risk of fire if you discard matches, cigarettes or don’t quench BBQs appropriately.
Please take all rubbish home with you - livestock and wildlife can be seriously harmed by it!
Special mention of dog poo bags. Nobody likes to see poo bags hanging on tree branches, chucked in hedge bottoms or left on gate posts. Take them home or place in bins. They also kill horses, cattle and sheep, which are attracted to the cereal content from the food the dog has eaten but this can block the animal’s digestive system. If you have a dog, be responsible. Which brings me onto the worry over livestock. Be aware that your dog can cause harm by chasing, even if just for fun.
Wildlife is at peak breeding time and it’s easy to disturb nests or interrupt rearing by indiscriminate roaming, so please stay on footpaths Right to roam does not apply everywhere, only on open moorland, mountains or heathland - farmland does not come into this category.
You will now start to hear and see much more wildlife, including tiny blue tits, noisy great tits and groups of long-tailed tits chattering in trees. Also take note of the abundance of wild flowers now blooming - from the blue of forget-me-nots through the pinks of foxglove and the yellow of buttercups.
Of course, farmers are busy mowing and collecting the grass for silage or wrapping it into big bales for winter feed for our cattle and sheep. Crops are being tended, especially as last autumn was so wet and this spring has been so dry-that later-sown crops have struggled to establish.
The flush of Spring grass usually means an increase in milk production, but lockdown has caused problems. Consumptions is down as the coffee shops, catering and food service industries have been closed.
Coronavirus has meant some changes on the farm. Veterinary attendance still has to carry on and social distancing/appropriate care must be taken. TB testing also continues, but the very youngest calves aren’t included at the moment.
With some regard for each other, we can all safely enjoy the working countryside.