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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 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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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