It’s not often I write a farming story and this one isn’t really. It’s more about the countryside and more specifically, living in it. Farmers do get a hard time from some people who move to the countryside and I thought I’d share few tips on moving to the countryside, how to fit in as though you’ve lived in the countryside all your life. And how to avoid annoying the Farmers.
Things of note in the countryside
You can’t deny that moving to the countryside gives you much more space than you would have in a town. Especially for children most places tend to have a garden and if not there’s usually parks, village greens, or nice walks on public footpaths. But that doesn’t mean that you can go anywhere you like through fields. Stick to the footpaths and don’t think you can just wander into farmyards without being invited because you want to have a nosy round.
Walks in the countryside
Some people seem to think that a public footpath is just for walkers. But what they forget, is that the land isn’t owned by the public, it’s owned by the farmer and the farmer still needs to farm his land.
We’ve had walkers turn up at our front door complaining because there were cows in the field that the public footpath goes through. Yes, we have cows who need feeding, and they get their food from the field.
They wanted to know whether they could walk through the field as they had to get back to their car which was in the village at the other side. I pointed out that there was a public footpath and therefore of course they could walk along it. If they were worried about the cows then there was a road they could walk around. They weren’t happy with that and asked if I would walk through it. If I was alone I might not, if I was with the OH, yes I would. Cows are pretty harmless unless you’ve got a dog on a lead and then that’s your choice. The walkers weren’t happy when I suggested that with a dog maybe they should go round. For the extra quarter of a mile it might have taken.
They thought that we should have fenced off the cows from the footpath which is absurd given the size of the footpath and the fact that it goes through three fields with cows in. Supposedly they were going to report us for not allowing access to the footpath. So absurd given that there is nothing blocking it. Except maybe some bullocks who might have trotter over to meet them.
The fresh air is one of the best things about the countryside. Because there’s so much space and openness there’s very little chance of you breathing in smoke, car exhaust or anything else unsavoury. Apart from maybe your next door neighbour’s bonfire. And fewer people seem to smoke in rural areas compared with towns. Sometimes you can even smell the freshness. So don’t go having smelly bonfires every week and annoying your neighbours.
Muddy roads and cars
You can almost guarantee that if you work off the farm your car will always be the muddiest in the car park. Unfortunately living in the countryside means you do get muddy roads. There’s nothing you can do about that unless you’re going to cover your car in cling film while you drive. But don’t go moaning to farmers about mud on the road when it’s just a bit of rain has caused run off from the fields.
Yes there are times in the year when farmers are moving manure around, and going in and out of farmyards, meaning they gather mud on their tyres. But to the person who suggested that my brother-in-law clean the road after every journey he made on it… get real. With the minuscule amount that was on the road for the tiny part outside the farm, the tractor bucket wouldn’t have been able to get close enough to scrape it up anyway.
Unfortunately farms do make noises and they can be quite loud. We can’t stop animals from making a sound. And yes, farmers know it’s annoying. Especially when the young are being weaned, or when the cattle have been turned out into the fields after winter (the excitement is so sweet to hear and see), or there’s been a delivery of sheep or cattle from market and they’ve arrived in a new farm.
And in the summer months, sometimes you might hear the combine in the fields and the carts going back and forth along the road late at night. But I know I’d prefer to hear rural noise than howling foxes scrapping around dustbins, young drivers drag racing the streets of a city, or hydraulic brakes at junctions. So don’t moan at farmers at the noise. There’s not much they can do about it.
And while we’re there, don’t park on both sides of the road in narrow village roads in case tractors or fire engines need to come through. You’re not helping your car to keep its wing mirrors..
Yes there will also end up being hay on the road.
But not much credit is given, for the help and input farmers often provide to the community:
- Verge cutting (not liked by councils because of health and safety)
- Snow plough services (despite the councils not liking it)
- Pulling cars out of hedges after accidents and snow incidents when they need to spend their time trying to check on and feed the animals
- Providing hay bales for village fetes and events
- Keeping the countryside as countryside and preventing developments turning up everywhere
Did you ever move to the countryside and find these kind of things an issue? Or love all the things that make rural living what it is?