Farmers' livelihoods 'put at risk' by visitors

There is a waning that farmers' livelihoods are being put at risk during the coronavirus outbreak by people straying from footpaths.

North Yorkshire County Council says it is supporting farmers, in calling for people not to travel long distances to walk in rural areas, and to stick to footpaths.

Suzanne Benson, who runs Nidderdale Llamas at Pateley Bridge, says she is increasingly concerned at the number of people wandering away from footpaths. She says some are ignoring social distancing rules, touching fences and farm gates - and so threatening her business and health.

The Nidderdale 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.

Suzanne Benson, Nidderdale Llamas

North Yorkshire County Council says it understands that people wish to take exercise but says it is vital that the rural economy - and communities - are not put at risk.

The countryside is a working environment, as well as a source of recreation and during the coronavirus 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.

Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire County Council Chief Executive

Suzanne Benson says she wants her business to be able to welcome visitors once the coronavirus outbreak has passed, which is why she is urging people to stay away now.