Ever since opening a footpath to gain access to the shop a few years back we have been aware of people using it as a cut through or thoroughfare to other parts of the village.
It just so happens that we are situated perfectly in a spot for people to do a loop of the village. We have however, never been a public footpath or right of way. This is private land and a real working farm. In the past we turned a blind eye. Of course, how do we vet every single person coming through. ‘Have you used the shop this week Sir.’ And ‘open up your bag, let’s have a look’ or ‘you can have one free walk through with 3 purchases.’ This is silly and we would not want to, nor do we have time to.
We left it to people being responsible and considerate of others. And to be fair, the vast majority have been, and we thank you for that. However, with the current situation and for the foreseeable future and with these concerns in mind we are going to have to say we can only have people who are coming to use the farm facilities using the footpath and ‘cut through.’ We will put signs up, but we really wanted to put a post out to the village first and keep you ‘in the loop’ as it were.
Our priority is the safety of our customers and our staff and for everyone to feel they can come down to the Shop and/or Patisserie in peace and shop in a relaxed environment.
I spoke to a lovely lady walking her dogs this morning to explain what we were doing. She explained she had been walking that route for years. After all, it was first thing in the morning, hardly anyone was about, and she would be passing through in a few seconds. However, we have had large groups of children on bikes storming past people waiting to go in the shop, then cycling back down the path when reaching the top, runners with headphones on going through parts of the farm that have always been closed off, people jogging past people waiting to go in the shop and not stopping to walk around them at a safe distance. We have also had people saying they are just coming down for a ‘nosey’ when we have asked them if they are waiting to go in the shop, or people parking their cars in our car park to go on long walks. Therefore, we must apply this to everyone and please ask that the paths to and from the farm are used only to gain access to the Farm Shop and Patisserie.
With the new legislation being confusing for many as to picnics and gatherings, we have decided to keep the farm site for purchases and then to move on with no picnics or stopping on site. And if this can be a part of your walk, cycle or drive then please do so. We have put a table outside the shop for people to use to sit down whilst waiting to go in or waiting for someone who is already in the shop, but again not for picnicking on or stopping at. With people rightly wanting to get out in the countryside more as Summer approaches we must act now to enforce this so that the route to the shop is reserved and kept clear for our customers and farm machinery that will be using these entrances and exits to get growing and harvesting on a regular basis.
One customer to the farm this morning said she had been concerned about people hanging about and 3 people coming in to the shop whilst she was in there and we have to assure and put people’s minds at ease as much as possible. We also know as it is self service it can be easy to miss written signs if you have too many. We must have no more than 2x people in the shop at any time. This includes if there are members of staff in the shop already and if any children are with you. If you are a family of 5 from the same household for example, we still ask only max of 2x people are in the shop at any time. Do send 1x adult in from your family in so another family can do the same and two households be fed at the same time. On the other hand, you may only want to go in the shop on your own, so it may be a case of waiting or explaining to other shoppers, or contacting us in advance to see how busy it is and we will be more than happy to help.
So, to reiterate, for the foreseeable future:
- We must enforce that we are still not a public footpath or right of way as has always been the case
- We are not to be used as a cut through unless you are needing to use the Shop/Patisserie
- Max of 2x people in the shop at any time
- No picnics or hanging about once you have done your shop, waiting is for people waiting to go in the shop or waiting for those of your household already in the shop
- Please keep to the 2-metre social distancing rule
Once again, at such an uncertain time, may we thank all of you for your understanding and for your continued support of the Farm Shop and Patisserie. Small businesses such as we cannot survive without you. We will try our darndest to keep the shop fully stocked whilst the demand is there with an array of essentials and delicious goodies. If you ever have any requests, questions or concerns anytime please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01508 538206.
Kindest regards and much love from everyone at the farm. x