Mucking Fields In The Peak District

 In Derbyshire walks, Environment

As Spring approaches, mucking fields in the Peak District is something you cannot ignore. As a southern softie down in Dorset the contents of a cow’s stomachs never crossed my mind. That was because there were few cows and fields were fertilised artificially. Up in the Peak District, squashy poo is an unavoidable topic. Currently, the cattle are indoors and they do little but empty their backends day and night. We daily pass cows in the byre down Main Street. They are mucked out, fresh straw put down and within days they are lying in poop. It sticks all over their bodies and is nothing but hard slog to clear out. Oh what a joy not to be a cattle farmer. Come January and the farmer needs to clear the poop mountain.

Reducing the pile

Firstly, out comes the vast muckspreader and the monstrous tractor needed to pull it. Secondly, a front bucket picks the stuff up and tips it into the muckspreader. That is hauled to a field and spread in flying lumps. Rarely, a muckspreader is switched on whilst still in the village! However, don’t assume that the muck is limited to the fields. It also drops all over the lanes and does its utmost to stick cars to the tarmac. You might assume that this is just a minor pong for we country dwellers. It is, unless you need to cross the fields on foot. The attraction between soles and muck is unbelievable. Consequently, within minutes you are running or walking on a platform of poop, sliding and slewing all over the place.

Mucking fields in the Peak District

Consequently, the fields and stiles are now on hold. A few weeks back we could change our route to avoid mucked fields. The farmers realised this and mucked in every direction. One was even mucking the field we were actually running over. Happily, flying poo fell short of us. However, the muck takes precedence in the rural world. We now run on the lanes, little more than just tacky, and our shoes no longer stink. Whatever, I washed a load of shoes outside in a bucket of warm water. They emerged in the brightest colours you could imagine, looking just like new. We will get into this farming rhythm, perhaps by absconding to poo free Lanzerote in January each year!

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