Farming near a town must be very stressful.
It’s not just the dogs being walked near sheep.
Although that’s stressful enough.
There’s the irritation of a public footpath across your farm which people love to cycle on. That’s how I got here.
There’s the fury at Google for showing a footpath where the landowner thinks there isn’t one.
There are the official Devon County Council signs.
And the farmer’s own.
I meet a relative of the landowner and she tells me about the nightmare of the first lockdown, of people sunbathing on their land, of people sitting and having picnics on the public footpath, of unauthorised metal detectorists, and of bmx bikers. She refers to it as her back garden. It’s the only accessible space for thousands of people on a crowded estate, and those same people are paying taxes to a Government which pays the landowner to keep unproductive, nature-destroying sheep here and then warn them off the land. I’m pondering just how wrong this is when she wanders off, back to the farm. I look at Google Maps. The farm house must be the one with the huge swimming pool.