LIFESTYLE: THE COUNTRY CODE

I spent most of my life living in the city and big towns and I’d describe myself as street wise. It was a different story when I moved up to the Shropshire countryside… Nowadays, I’ve got a closer affinity with nature and I see nature and the land completely differently.  I’m attempting to work with it.  Anyway this post has been inspired by some of the things that I’ve learnt whilst living in my rural paradise.

1. Close the gates

Many farmers keep their fields open to the public which is great news for us walkers. However, usually they’ll have cattle in those fields too. Remember, unless there’s a sign saying otherwise, close the gates after you.

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Too many times have I seen sheep and cows on main roads all because someone left the gate open!

It annoys lots of farmers and land owners and they’re more likely to withdraw their offer of sharing their fields.

2. Don’t shout when there’s farm animals about

Now I love myself a ‘hills are alive’ moment whilst running through the fields but there is a time and a place.

The time is not whilst there are farm animals about in the fields. Cows and sheep are often spooked by loud noises and sudden movement. Sheep will tend to run away whereas cows will run after you- especially if they are bullocks or cow with calf.

Walk slowly and try to not stare at the animals as they’ll see you as a threat. Instead blink at them and walk preferably out of the field. If you’ve a dog, keep it on a lead.

3. Follow the arrows

I always get asked ‘how do I know if I’m allowed in that field?’  I was constantly told  ‘get off my land’ when I first moved up. Being told to close the gate behind me and marched off the farm down the road was embarrassing.

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Then I learnt if you’re allowed in somewhere it will tell you. Look out for posts with little yellow men on them – these mean walkers allowed. Also you’ll see arrows usually with your local council name on and this means you’re allowed to walk through.

Other signs such as private land or trespasses with be prosecuted means just that.

If you’re unsure and decide to venture in, be on the look- out for farmers and explain you’re just out walking and you’re sorry if it’s private land.  Most of them won’t mind as long as you don’t litter or have a weekend party.

4. Drive safe and be prepared to stop

It always bugs me when I see people speeding down the country lanes. If you’re one of those please remember that people like me take afternoon strolls or go for bike rides.  You don’t want that on your conscious.  Besides, these little roads are famous for horse hacks!

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Remember to drive slower in the mornings and the evenings. It’s at these times you get a lot of slow birds just taking off for flight. Birds in the morning are slower because they’re waiting for the sun to give their wings energy and the same can be said for evening too as the sun sets, birds lose energy.

Any thoughts? Leave them below.

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