Advice: Walking near livestock

Many people do not realise the dangers when walking near cows or bulls. Here’s some advice on what do when walking near cattle. Credit: ITV News

Although most people are aware of the dangers around bulls, very few realise cows, especially those protecting their calves, can also be very dangerous.

The Ramblers Association has issued this advice:

What you should do:

  • Stop, look and listen on entering a field.

  • Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves.

  • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.

  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.

  • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.

  • Keep your dog close, on a short lead, and under effective control.

  • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.

  • Report any frightening incidents or attacks to the landowner, the highway authority, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and also the police if it's of a serious nature.

What you shouldn't do:

  • Don’t hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle - let it go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you.

  • Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle.

  • Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly.

You should walk quietly around cows if you come across them Credit: Frank May

What do you do if there are cattle on your path and there's no way around?

  • Find another way, by going around the cattle.

  • If cattle are blocking a path through a field, you’re well within your rights to find a safe way, away from the path to avoid them.

  • You should then re-join the footpath as soon as possible – and when you consider it safe to do so.