Foot and Mouth has returned to the countryside and unfortunately it’s not far from us. In addition to the farm near Pirbright, last night the Chief Veterinary Officer announced that there was possibly a second outbreak, outside of the initial exclusion zone and not far from the village of Wotton.
This is close to home – with a three kilometer exclusion zone it starts to affect our Mountain Bike activities around Ranmore, Leith Hill and Holmbury, particularly if the disease is confirmed. In fact, Wotton is the start of many an adventure over the Surrey Hills for many Mountain Bikers, being at the start of Wolverns Lane.
I’m not a farmer, so I can only guess at how they feel seeing their livelihoods threatened, but as Mountain Bikers we have a responsibility to the people whose land we take advantage of.
I’ve looked up the official advice issued by Defra which says that the countryside remains open at this stage although footpaths and bridleways on infected premises and around infected holdings have been closed, as well as footpaths and bridleways in the first Protection Zone.
As it happens I’m unlikely to be riding this weekend but I really hope the disease doesn’t spread further – I want to be out riding my bike!