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Farming Today This Week: Access to the Countryside

Charlotte Smith is on a farm near Wantage in Oxfordshire, to find out about the issues surrounding public access to the countryside.

This programme explores the issue of public access to the countryside. How do you balance the rights of walkers, horseriders and cyclists with the needs of farmers? Charlotte Smith visits a sheep farm near Wantage in Oxfordshire, which is very close to the Ridgeway national trail. She talks to the farm manager about the impact of having a major walking route on the doorstep, attracting thousands of visitors every year. She learns about how environmental schemes have paid subsidies in the past to improve footpath access, and asks whether the proposed new system of 'public money for public goods' post-Brexit could improve access further. We also meet the officer in charge of the Ridgeway trail and the director of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - who explain how the area is managed, and tell Charlotte about the impact all those tyres, hooves and pairs of walking boots have on the land.

Producer: Emma Campbell

25 minutes