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Farming matters: Rona Amiss - 'Properties are being snapped up and a new kind of person moving in'

In line with the Boris road map, Cornwall was due to reopen on April 12 and promptly did so.

However, this time the lockdown didn’t seem to have been as quiet as last spring. Most of the businesses in the village have been busy extending, expanding and getting ready for what is predicted to be a bumper season.

 

This is great news for our farm diversification, but not such great news for the farm.

 

The Lizard has always been a popular destination for walkers but even before Covid-19 the visitor numbers were increasing, especially with the Instagram tourists who rush to Kynance Cove to take the perfect picture.

 

Obviously the owners encouraged this to start with, posting beautiful pictures advertising the coast, until the reality of overcrowded car parks, blocked roads and local anger and rage left them managing far more than they expected.

 

Social media is a funny thing and the photos of Kynance just can’t be stopped and, even with only two lines in the National Trust members handbook, the tourists just keep coming.

 

Narrow roads and large cars are just part of the problem, making any farm jobs during the day time pretty near impossible. Straying walkers, ill-controlled dogs and litter cause distress to our livestock and constant hassle for the farmer.

 

Trying to guide people back to the footpath or to put their dog on a lead is a thankless task which often ends in a lot of abuse.


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The last year has seen a huge change in people’s lives and many have decided they will follow the dream and move to Cornwall. Any property that has come up for sale has been snapped up instantly at inflated prices.

 

These people are bringing a special type of hell to my life, as instead of moving to the village and joining our slightly crazy Lizard life, they come with very definite ideas about what the country is about.

 

As soon as they have extended and titivated their cottage they start on the view which can involve cutting trees down, removing hedges and spraying the field, paying no heed to property boundaries.

 

They then helpfully advise me that my suckler calves are frightened, the lambs are cold and other such infuriating nonsense.

 

Many of you will find this funny as I’ve always been the person that has been encouraging walkers and people on to the farm, but what can I do other than get cross? I still think that education is key and I would urge farmers to consider Open Farm Sunday this year as a start to engage with the public about how to behave.

 

There are a few campaigns going such as Farmers Guardian’s Take the Lead, which raises awareness of livestock worrying and has resources to educate walkers, but there is a limit to what farmers can do in isolation.

 

It is time that we had support from our landlords, Defra and across the board in a revamped modern Countryside Code that is clearly promoted and has some sort of teeth. If social media can advertise a tiny isolated beach so well, surely we can influence people to respect our farmland and countryside.

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