Despite the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) on a farm in Surrey, the countryside of the National Park and all other unaffected areas in England and Wales remains open.
DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government state that there are currently no plans for a blanket closure of footpaths. The UK contingency plan provides for footpaths to be closed only on a local basis in the vicinity of any disease outbreak. Current veterinary advice considers that outside a protection zone where an outbreak has occurred, the risk of rights of way users and other visitors to the countryside spreading the disease is low. Any decision to close public rights of way would only be taken when it is clearly necessary to do so.
The next few days will be crucial in determining the spread of the disease, however, visitors to the countryside are asked to observe the following precautions:
· avoid contact with livestock (particularly cattle, sheep, pigs and goats)
· wash their hands if they do come into contact with livestock
· keep dogs on leads
· use any disinfectant facilities provided