Article written by Bernie Fallon, May 25th 2021.
It’s that time of year when nature has been woken from its Winter slumber and begins to dazzle us with its wonder.
Springtime, particularly in the Countryside brings so much hope and beauty as a new cycle of natural life begins. Living in a rural village like East Farndon gives us the opportunity to get closer than most. For the farmers it is one of their busiest times of year, not just with the preparation of land and crop planting, but because it marks the start of the lambing and calving season which, for the lambs, requires 24 hour attention.
The idyllic scene of young lambs and calves frolicking in the fields on a sunny spring day brings joy and excitement to children and grown-ups alike and presents a great opportunity to teach little ones about the countryside and how to respect it.
Many of the fields have ‘right of way’ footpaths that allow walkers and ramblers to pass through without damaging crops or disturbing grazing animals. This creates a relative harmony that for most of the year causes very few problems. It is important to remember however that this is a working environment for farm staff, and visitors should remain vigilant of animals, machinery and vehicles.
Springtime, particularly when young calves and lambs are grazing, should be a time when the respect for the countryside and its new additions is essential.
Cows are naturally very protective of their young and have been known, on occasions, to charge at walkers. On very rare instances this has led to serious or fatal injuries to those involved. Although right of way footpaths may exist through fields with grazing cattle, sometimes it’s better to take the longer route and admire the herd from a distance rather than risk potential conflict.
Dogs are recommended to be on a lead at all times even if their temperament is good. Cows will do whatever they feel necessary to protect their young and as calves are playful and inquisitive, they will often wander away from their mothers to explore their surroundings. The arrival of a dog nearby may be cause for alarm.
East Farndon Parish Council, who have a dedicated Footpath Warden, in partnership with the farm landowners, keep an eye on the upkeep and maintenance of our footpaths, including those through farmland.
These footpaths are signposted and clearly marked as official routes, so to avoid unnecessary upset, it is best to keep to the marked walkways.
If you spot a problem, maybe an obstruction on the path or damage to a stile, in the first instance contact East Farndon Parish Council. They will then investigate, and if necessary, notify the relevant landowner and / or West Northamptonshire Council (who have responsibility for footpaths). To do this, please email the Parish Clerk at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Countryside is there for us all to enjoy and admire throughout the year, but it comes with a responsibility that we all share to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
For more information about livestock and rights of way visit: https://www.nfuonline.com/cross-sector/rural-affairs/access/access-news/livestock-and-rights-of-way-reducing-the-risk/
Guide to farming Calendar: https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/farming-calendar-a-year-in-the-life-of-a-british-farmer/