Author Topic: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........  (Read 776 times)

barewirewalker

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Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« on: 11:34:17, 05/07/19 »
"That field's been shut off for hay, even we won't walk in it till after mowing". Anyone else come across this statement from a farmer? If a right of way crosses a field the way must be made good within a week or two (can't remember the exact no. of days). So why does this excuse seem an infallible reason amongs't some farmers to deter walkers from crossing their land. Perhaps I talk to farmers more than some others.

Is this a reason to cite obstruction? In another topic I asked if I should complain to the Local Authority, but it is difficult to pin a reason on the a particular obstruction, when to whole area is devoid of fingerposts and waymarks and I am reluctant to be accusing that local authority of dereliction, because to do such a good job when they do get around to furnishing an area and their older areas the walk furnishings are in decline.

This leads to another line of thought; That there are two types of obstruction, the physical blockage of a right of way and a sort that is not so tangible as we are now encouraged to understand the difference between actual and virtual reality.

What is the source of this virtual obstruction, it manifested itself in the attitudes of two property owners on the back stretch of that Dolfor walk, though friendly enough encounters, we encountered strong persuasion to deviate our planned route. In the first instance, a non farmer, we ignored his advice and discovered ourselves walking through a fairy tale wood with a carpet of yellow, cow wheat, lit by sunlight streaks piercing the tree canopy as stunning as any bluebell wood.

The second encounter did lead to our deviating our original course, the irony was we had already walked through the hay field concerned on our out stretch. So the damage was already done if any was done. When we walked that field to keep to the RoW would have taken us across the middle of the field, but the rise of the ground and the crop masked the objective, which when was apparent, no way through the hedge, was obvious. This meant a right angle change in direction to a field gate. Again not fully visible, for the same reasons as before, until we had walked through the crop looking for this alternative.

To walk the field boundary would have increased the damage to the crop, but was there likelihood of damage. This myth of shutting of for hay seems common in central Wales, does it over rule the obligation to spray out the line of a crop, such as cereals, rape or even potatoes. In the days of the cutterbar, it would have needed some adjustments of pitch and forward speed to overcome a laid crop. Modern mowers are far less susceptible and I think you have to go back to hand scything, where trodden or tussocked grass would turn the point of the blade into the ground.
We walkers are encouraged to observe the countryside code, the acceptance of this is the norm yet an age old tradition of hospitality among country people is being slowly diminished.

Whenever I read of public footpaths etc, in the farming press the tone is to tell occupiers of our countryside to obey their legal obligation, and that is as far as it goes. Never going further to explore the value of producer and visitor meeting through a fair share of the countryside. How magnanimous are those, who have farm visits etc, etc but are they encourage to supply additional directions or ways to mitigate seasonal obstructions?

Perhaps by writing this I am starting to flesh out my complaint to Powys CC. Would it go beyond the RoW Officer and be scrutinized by their Local Access Forum, because it is more directed at the landowners on that body, perhaps even the chairman (could he be a landowner).



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fernman

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #1 on: 13:50:35, 05/07/19 »
My reply would be, "OK, so I'll walk around the edges of the field, then" and see how the farmer responds to that.

BuzyG

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #2 on: 14:17:56, 05/07/19 »
My reply may have been, on who's authority. Followed with thanks for the warning, I should be fine though and off you go. Similar to a single red flag on a guarded beach.  You can still swim/surf there, if you are daft, I meant experienced enough. 

Jac

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #3 on: 14:44:14, 05/07/19 »
Maybe a diplomatic 'Would you prefer me to walk round the edge or follow the right of way?' If the answer 'prefer you not to do either' then just stick to the PRoW . If he/she then wanted to physically obstruct you in any way they would have be on the hay themselves.
So many paths, so little time

fernman

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #4 on: 19:32:56, 05/07/19 »
If he/she then wanted to physically obstruct you in any way they would have be on the hay themselves.

 :o

You are clearly not a person to be messed with, Jac!

barewirewalker

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #5 on: 09:26:33, 06/07/19 »
Good contributions from experienced walkers. Diplomacy was the order of the day. We listened but the sub text of the directions is revealing. Having taken the advice on our second encounter, we were still forced back towards that field of hay by the available gates. Though from a different direction. Staying on the right of way was difficult as normal walk furnishings were non existent.

Bear in mind that this is difficult terrain to navigate through, steep wooded ravines, convex slopes so that field shapes are almost impossible to recognize. Throughout the day I had managed to know pretty well where I was in relation to the map and the righteous way. Someone using a sat nav would be directed towards a field boundary and non existent style, if waymarks were there then the walker would be committed to walking in that direction. (Practical advice that should be offered in land management periodicals on the wellbeing of visitors to the countryside)

In talking I am listening to for the underlying motives, I get the distinct impression that these locals know precisely where the rights of way are, but are reluctant to admit that they are there. They are using the hay field and the innuendo that a bull is in the field to discourage us from walking their land.

What was more telling; there is a track through a wood that would have given us the perfect byepass for this field of hay and another. It would have avoided a more more dangerous alternative of being forced out of this attractive walking area onto a busy and fast A road.

But this track is locked, barbed wire wrapped top bar and is not a right of way. We walked this track in 2007, too far back to remember it well, but by a check back on old photographs, I now realize that it would have been the perfect route to satisfy both the occupiers wishes and our needs as return route to Dolfor.

Where is this reluctance, on the part of the occupier of the countryside, to admit to actual rights of way and more telling, offer a safe alternative coming from? 


The person directing us away from the hay field, had herself just returned from doing a 26 mile charity walk, not too far away at Staylittle.
BWW
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Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #6 on: 11:03:08, 06/07/19 »
Right of Way, or not, a farmers way of life is hard by average standards, and if they have kindly placed a notice asking walkers not to use a right of way during his all important hay collection, then i would respect his wishes.
Once the hay has been collected, then there should be no issues.
What i dislike, are those gun ho types, who trample through a field of corn, as if its their God given right to do so.

Few if any famers will place a sign asking walkers not to use a recognised by law, public right of way, simply because they are not allowed legally to obstruct a public footpath on their land.

The only issue is that if the farmer continues to use this excuse long after the corn has been cut, then i would use his field to continue my journey.


Just put yourself, in his position, the hay field is his income, and lively hood, and seeing walkers trampling through his crops, knowing there is nothing legally he can do to stop them, that is a hard position to be in.

The walk will be there for another day, give the farmer his due respect for asking the public not to trample through his hay field full of corn.


Find an alternative route, if its at all possible.

Respect his wishes, for only as long as the hay remains in his field.
« Last Edit: 11:11:36, 06/07/19 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

barewirewalker

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #7 on: 13:34:56, 06/07/19 »
I not only can put myself into the 'Farmers Position', I was a farmer for 19 years. What I was not; A Landowner. The farmer and landowner are required like all other businessmen to be professional.

Is farming harder than any other profession? I applied myself just as hard to my later business. The farmer uses the asset of the land for production, primarily food. The landowner occupies a space within our country, which creates additional asset value, by the use of the countryside. This resource is supporting many businesses beyond the actual boundaries of one particular freeholder.

The reason we have to have 'Rights of Way' is due to the reluctance of the landowners to share the countryside. Are farmers using as excuses, the complaints that the profession body and main lobby group for landowners use, to avoid their responsibilities in land management?

If a walker deviate off the right of way by 2 meters, either side he is trespassing, grassland, so hence a haycrop is managed without a headland, so walking around the crop would damage more hay, by trespass so incur a loss.

In this case the landowner/farmer has positioned 'Private Land' notice in such a position as to suggest that a RoW should not be used elsewhere. Probably one that can be bought in an agricultural store.

I would suggest that the farmer in this case has been obstructing the rightful way for more than 10 years by ignoring the fact that the Powys Rights of Way dept of the CC have yet to furnish the routes in this area.

That is unprofessional be he farmer, owner occupier or landowner.
If farmers were to embrace, even welcome the access network they could be getting paid to do much of the work county councils have to do, this work would be increasing employment in their areas.


BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

Mel

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #8 on: 20:43:40, 06/07/19 »
DA, I totally, wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote  O0


(and no, I'm not being sarcastic or "dark-humoured")



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barewirewalker

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #9 on: 06:52:27, 07/07/19 »
Thanks Mel.
You have just demonstrated why The Ramblers', the British Mountaineering Council, Open Spaces Society and any other lobby group interested in improving our access to the countryside will fail.
Until these groups learn to differentiate between the identity of the landowner and the farmer and persuade their grass roots membership to do likewise, then no progress will ever be made.

BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

Doddy

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #10 on: 11:37:15, 07/07/19 »
I have a parks and countryside management background and a stint in Young Farmers and would find such a note to avoid a path spurious.
To avoid conflict if it was small diversion I would probably agree to do it.
There are liability issues for both parties varying away from the PROW. Keep to the Path is often seen and should be done. An often used path usually does not have enough grass on it to make decent hay; probably talking about a bales worth.

"The temporary closure of a public right of way is a legal process, and is done only where it is absolutely necessary and there is a danger to public safety that cannot be designed out. Once any work is completed, the legal, definitive line of the public right of way must be available for use on the ground."

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #11 on: 18:42:45, 07/07/19 »
A nice walk in the countryside, is just that, a walk, designed for those of us who take our health and love of the outdoors seriously.
Public Rights of Way, are fiercely protected by the various walking groups, and rightly so, it allows us access to the great outdoors, and the countryside which is owned by private individuals, as well as public bodies.

With that right to roam, comes a great responsibility, a responsibility that a lot of so called walkers, fail to recognise or ignore.

The despoiling of the countryside, by dropping litter, causing damage to gates and fences, as well as allowing their pets to run riot amongst livestock.

Respect nature, leave only footprints, and great memories behind, and if you encounter a notice left by the land owner, to try and avoid trampling through his crops, at one of his busiest times of year, then respect his wishes.

You may even encounter the farmer or land owner during your walk, as i have done, on numerous occasions.

Most of them are pleasant enough individuals, who if they have enough time, will talk to you, probably asking you where you have come from, and other small talk.

Lets not forget, its the farmers and landowners who are custodians of the great outdoors, their managing the countryside for future generations, why make their lives more difficult.

If they are preparing for the cutting of corn, let them do it in peace, and its only a person or persons, who do not respect nature or a farmers way of life, who would wilfully trample crops, when they have been politely asked not to do so.


The cutting of crops, only happens for a short period in the farming calander, surely most of us can find an alternative route, to a walk.
« Last Edit: 18:48:39, 07/07/19 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

pauldawes

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #12 on: 19:14:29, 07/07/19 »
A nice walk in the countryside, is just that, a walk, designed for those of us who take our health and love of the outdoors seriously.
Public Rights of Way, are fiercely protected by the various walking groups, and rightly so, it allows us access to the great outdoors, and the countryside which is owned by private individuals, as well as public bodies.

With that right to roam, comes a great responsibility, a responsibility that a lot of so called walkers, fail to recognise or ignore.

The despoiling of the countryside, by dropping litter, causing damage to gates and fences, as well as allowing their pets to run riot amongst livestock.

Respect nature, leave only footprints, and great memories behind, and if you encounter a notice left by the land owner, to try and avoid trampling through his crops, at one of his busiest times of year, then respect his wishes.

You may even encounter the farmer or land owner during your walk, as i have done, on numerous occasions.

Most of them are pleasant enough individuals, who if they have enough time, will talk to you, probably asking you where you have come from, and other small talk.

Lets not forget, its the farmers and landowners who are custodians of the great outdoors, their managing the countryside for future generations, why make their lives more difficult.

If they are preparing for the cutting of corn, let them do it in peace, and its only a person or persons, who do not respect nature or a farmers way of life, who would wilfully trample crops, when they have been politely asked not to do so.


The cutting of crops, only happens for a short period in the farming calander, surely most of us can find an alternative route, to a walk.


Er...if ALL farmers, landowners, etc are wonderfully considerate folk why do various walking groups need to fight fiercely to protect rights of way??


I agree most farmers are good and generous fellows. But a minority..but not a vanishingly small minority..make it obvious by various transparent means that they want to discourage walkers from using ROW’s.


Let me list a few: signage that gets damaged or removed mysteriously quickly, putting barbed wire so close or on stiles so that slightest miscalculation results in ripped clothing, dung heaps placed to make access to stiles more difficult, fierce dogs on chains very close to footpath, re-instating line of path incredibly slowly.


 They are several more! If any veteran walker really hasn’t come up against a fair number of unfriendly land owners or farmers over the years...I think they have been incredibly lucky or habitually walk open terrain, rather than do regular walks over farmland.


In this particular case I would have assumed “Field shut off for hay” was a royal mickey take: if field has been farmed correctly why would anybody walking legitimate ROW materially effect hay yield??
« Last Edit: 19:18:44, 07/07/19 by pauldawes »

Mel

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #13 on: 19:51:12, 07/07/19 »
I’ve just spoken to my friend (a farming family)… asked them why they might close a hay meadow near harvest because, to be honest, I do find it difficult to believe it would be done for malicious reasons as always seem to be implied by BWW.  Her answer:

“Dog muck left by irresponsible dog owners.  Gives us chance to cleanse the field of poo bags so it doesn’t get mashed up in the machinery during the harvest process or flicked about when we turn the hay.  Would you want to feed your animals someone else’s dogmuck?  Farm animals eventually end up in the human food chain themselves, be that milk or meat.  Various authorities would come down hard on us if contaminated animals or food supplies were discovered so we have to mitigate that possibility in high risk areas such as a hay meadow with a RoW through it.  Sadly, the actions of an irresponsible few affect the decent many.”

Coming from a farming background yourself BWW, I would have thought you would have more patience, compassion and understanding about the balance between the many uses and users of our green and pleasant land  O0


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pauldawes

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Re: Field Shut off for Hay, even we...........
« Reply #14 on: 20:12:47, 07/07/19 »
I’ve just spoken to my friend (a farming family)… asked them why they might close a hay meadow near harvest because, to be honest, I do find it difficult to believe it would be done for malicious reasons as always seem to be implied by BWW.  Her answer:

“Dog muck left by irresponsible dog owners.  Gives us chance to cleanse the field of poo bags so it doesn’t get mashed up in the machinery during the harvest process or flicked about when we turn the hay.  Would you want to feed your animals someone else’s dogmuck?  Farm animals eventually end up in the human food chain themselves, be that milk or meat.  Various authorities would come down hard on us if contaminated animals or food supplies were discovered so we have to mitigate that possibility in high risk areas such as a hay meadow with a RoW through it.  Sadly, the actions of an irresponsible few affect the decent many.”

Coming from a farming background yourself BWW, I would have thought you would have more patience, compassion and understanding about the balance between the many uses and users of our green and pleasant land  O0


So, I’m at the field. I don’t have a dog...and I want to walk the ROW. Nobody is charging up and down ROW clearing up poo bags (and if they are I can walk round them)...how am I being inconsiderate by walking it?