PEOPLE enjoying the countryside as lockdown restrictions ease have been urged to have more consideration for farmers.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has received reports of cars parked in narrow lanes, blocking vital access, while disposable barbecues and associated rubbish have been left in fields, according to the NSA.

Now the organisation's chief executive Phil Stocker is calling on people to brush up on the Countryside Code, which helps everyone to respect, protect, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Mr Stocker said: "The NSA has long believed that people visiting the countryside benefit physically and mentally, and that in most cases they appreciate what they experience.

"In many cases, visitors also contribute to rural economies and get the opportunity to see some farming in action and learn more about the fabric of the countryside.

"However, with the lockdown restrictions now easing and so many attractions and venues still closed, we are seeing people coming onto farms who wouldn’t normally do so and some of the things we are seeing suggest that there is either little knowledge of the Countryside Code."

Mr Stocker said that some farm animals were not used to seeing visitors, while dog walkers should be extra careful when taking their pets close to livestock.

He called on people using the countryside for recreation to remember that it is a working environment.

"Most farmers welcome legal and responsible access," he added. "But too many people seem to think they are visiting a staffed public attraction where the only objective is their enjoyment and a paid litter picker will be along soon. This would be a good time for a Government-sponsored television and radio campaign to raise awareness of the Countryside Code and invest in the responsible use of the countryside.”