Farmer blocks cycle trail in Cornwall ‘to stop coronavirus’

Police and council looking to resolve issue after van and hay bales placed across path

A farmer in Cornwall has blocked a cycle and walking trail with hay bales and a van, claiming that he wants to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Engine House Trail, which links Truro to Hayle and forms part of National Cycle Network Route 3 from Land’s End to Bristol, runs across land owned by Nathan Mitchell at Carharrack, Redruth, reports BBC News.

He claims that people using the trail create a risk of spreading coronavirus, including through touching gate posts.

One person who uses the trail to run to work at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Redruth each day told Cornishstuff.com that he now has to use the road, which adds an extra mile to the journey.

He said: “I found that the farmer had blocked off the Bissoe Trail at three different points – they have parked a van across it at one point and put bales in front of the gates at the others.

“It is completely blocked, you can’t get through there. It is a pain in the neck for me, I work at Treliske and run to work using the trail every day. Now I have to use the road for a mile or more instead of using the trail.

“It is really annoying.”

Cornwall Council has said it is “working with the police to resolve this issue” after a van was parked on the trail at Carharrack, near Redruth, with wrapped hay bales also used to block gates at another location.

Mr Mitchell, a beef farmer, informed the council by email of his intention to close the path and was visited last weekend by council and police officers to discuss the closure.

He told the BBC: “People are walking up and down this path that is not 2m wide. I needed to close the path off to stop coronavirus. It's ludicrous with this virus and people supposed to keep 2 metres apart.”

He added that he plans to reopen the path “when safe to do so.”

However, Cornwall Council has said it is “working with the police to resolve this issue.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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