Firstly, thank you to the Good. To the kind, local volunteers that are clearing up the rubbish left on our land.
We at Park Farm and Bath Soft Cheese are indebted to these volunteers (led by the Saltford Wombles) who repeatedly spend their mornings picking up rubbish left by people partying in our fields alongside the River Avon. It’s heartwarming to see how much people care about the beauty of the land and the welfare of wildlife and farm animals.
During these difficult times, farmers like us face a dilemma over whether to move people on who picnic and have BBQs on farmland – who are often trespassing near footpaths.
We still believe that the majority of those who are doing this are simply seeking a beautiful spot with enough space to socially distance. We are conscious of how lucky we are to live, work and spend a lot of our time in this beautiful countryside. We have seen many families enjoying idyllic picnics and behaving responsibly and we know that turning a blind eye to this can help families who are struggling.
However, there are growing numbers of people who do not fit into this category and who are now leaving huge quantities of rubbish behind. On Saturday hundreds, if not thousands, of people descended on our river fields during the early evening. Many of these groups made no effort to socially distance or clear up and over 4000 nitrous oxide canisters were collected by the volunteers on Saturday morning in addition to everything else.
If we were to ask every group to leave then the families would reluctantly move on but others are likely not to or will simply come back later. It has been suggested that we should spread manure in the fields to deter people. That is one option but seems unfair to those who simply enjoy walking along the footpaths and act responsibly. We don’t think there are any simple answers right now.
This is a problem right across the country and it will probably get worse before it gets better. There are no foreign holidays; traditional locations are too crowded for social distancing; most schools, colleges and universities are closed. When the beaches are overrun the countryside is an obvious second choice but this is only tolerable if everyone behaves responsibly.
So thank you again to all the saintly people that have picked up others rubbish, thank you also to the good people that have acted responsibly and taken everything away with them… and a plea to those that have acted irresponsibly to change their ways.
Please let us know what you think the right course of action for farmers should be.