Here’s the latest government line on Foot and Mouth Disease and how it might affect your leisure if you’re headed for the country

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has briefed each government department and agency on the nationwide effects of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. Those bodies have, in turn, tailored the advice to suit their own parochial interests.

The following notice has been issued by the British Marine Industry Federation (BMIF), British Waterways and other marine bodies and broadly falls in two parts: action inside and outside infected areas. It’s critical that the following measures – aimed at walkers, anglers, boaters and cyclists – are taken to prevent the continued spread of what has been described as The Black Death of the cloven-hoof world.

Outside Infected areas:If you don’t have to go into the countryside, don’t go. Countryside includes canal towpaths, coastal paths, wherever there is nearby livestock farmland.If you can’t avoid going, watch out for MAFF notices, expect some footpaths to be closed, stick exclusively to the towpath or stay onboard your boat. If you’re walking a dog, make sure it’s kept on a lead all the time – it’s a bit dull for Fido but dogs are carriers. Cats are unaffected.

Inside infected areas:Footpaths and towpaths will be closed. Don’t use them.Keep an eye out for MAFF notices advertising further restrictions. Boaters might well be asked not to stop along certain stretches of the canal.

For a list of towpaths already closed, click here .
If you want to know more about the disease, click here for MAFF’s FMD FAQs, OK?
There’s more information on or contact the FMD hotline on 0845 0504141