Dear Croppie: What Are The Rules For Visiting A Crop Circle?
Photograph by Hannah Kathleen
IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE CONSIDERATE
When we visit a crop circle we want our time there to be as carefree, fun and meaningful as possible. At the same time, we also have a responsibility to other people including the farmer whose land we may well be trespassing upon and those who live or own land in the immediate area.
You may ask why this is important, but many farmers are choosing to cut out or deface the crop circles appearing on their land, following advice issued by the National Farmers’ Union and the police. In a fair proportion of cases it is not the circle itself that drives the farmer to cut; rather, it is the prospect of hundreds, possibly thousands, of tourists entering their fields. Although the vast majority of visitors will be perfectly sensible, there are some simple rules we can all follow to ensure we do not unwittingly upset each other and the rural communities we will be visiting:
SIX SIMPLE RULES
1. Respect the wishes of the farmer if you are asked to leave the field
We’ve seen first hand how angry a farmer can be when there are tourists inside a crop circle, especially when he or she previously knew nothing about the ‘gift’ that has appeared in their best wheat field. If you are asked to leave then make your apologies, be polite and go.
Be aware that contrary to popular belief you have absolutely no right to roam on land that is used for growing crops.
2. Navigate the field using the tramlines
It can tough to locate the crop circle in some fields. We’ve all found ourselves in the situation where we end up walking down the wrong tramline (paths used by agricultural vehicles) and are unable to access the circle. Resist the temptation to take a short cut by walking through the standing plants — there’s a good reason some croppies have christened these paths ‘wanker tracks’!
3. Stick to areas of flattened crop inside the circle to help keep it intact
It can be extraordinarily frustrating for croppies visiting a circle to find areas of it flattened by other tourists. We’ve never really understood why people feel the need to make their own additions to a formation, especially as it only annoys farmers.
4. Take any rubbish home with you
Many croppies will have found litter and waste left by visitors inside a crop circle. We’ve found beer cans, wine bottles, cigarette packets, discarded underwear and even human faeces. This waste is not only incovenient for other croppies and an annoyance to farmers, it is also potentially dangerous for any wildlife that may pass through.
5. Respect other visitors to the circle
Be mindful of the other people in the crop circle. Never forget that we may have a very different reason for visiting a circle than someone sat just two metres away from us. Be polite, respect their opinions and don’t force your perspectives down the throats of others.
6. Respect the local community
Finally, act in a considerate manner towards any local residents. Ensure that when you park your vehicle you are not obstructing any gates, field access points or driveways. Also, close any gates behind you, especially if they lead to a field containing grazing animals which may subsequently escape.