Hillwalkers are being asked to be considerate of farmers by ensuring their vehicle is not blocking access to gates and/or private laneways that lead onto their land before starting their trek.
Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) made the appeal following reports from members who have discovered parked cars obstructing them from carrying out farming duties.
UFU legislation chairman, David Dunlop, said, “Cars being parked in front of gates and laneways blocking farmers from accessing their own land has always been an issue, but it has become a more common occurrence in the past few weeks.”
“With the weather improving more, members of the public are travelling to remote areas in the countryside to walk hill routes but are carelessly abandoning their vehicles causing frustration and anger among the farming community.”
“Farmers need to be able to access their land 24/7 as caring for livestock is a priority and they need to be attended to daily.”
Another worrying aspect, he added, is farm safety. The organisation said it encourages farmers to conduct farm work in the safest way possible, but should an emergency occur, obstructed entry onto farmland could have severe consequences.
Vandalisation of signs
Another disappointing issue for hill farmers has been the vandalisation of signs that have been put in place for the safety of the public.
“In similarity with a working farmyard, fields and hill areas are not a safe place for people to roam.”
“Our farmers put up signs to raise awareness and advise the public to stay out because livestock are grazing in the area or the condition of the land is not suitable for walkers or those travelling on bikes or quads.”
“The last thing a farmer or a hillwalker wants is to be involved in a farm accident. The mental aftermath alone would be devastating for both parties.”
“The countryside is there to be enjoyed and we are lucky to have countless beauty spots on our door step, but there is no need to be obstructing access to land or vandalising signs when out and about.” concluded Dunlop.