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Byline: Andrea Gerlin
DUNSTER, England _ Set beneath a magnificent Norman castle dating from the days of William the Conqueror, this usually bustling village proudly guards its reputation as a paradise for walkers and hikers in the hills of neighboring Exmoor National Park.
But lately, medieval Dunster seems more like a ghost town.
Vacancy signs are posted at every bed-and-breakfast. Cobbled sidewalks outside the thatched roofs and pastel facades of former artisans' cottages are deserted. Tourists and walkers no longer fill the fudge shops and tearooms, whose cash registers are nearly empty, even on weekends.
As foot-and-mouth disease began decimating herds throughout Britain last month, farmers' groups and the government sought to contain it by imploring visitors not to travel to rural areas, where their traffic could stir up virus particles.