Advice for Walkers around Cows

There is no shortage of advice for walkers visiting the countryside. First of all, we recommend you read Libby’s advice, then we give you three official sources to look up on the internet.

Libby’s Advice

Libby is a COWS member and suffered a serious cattle attack a few years ago. Since then, she has become very wary of cows. Determined to keep enjoying her countryside walks, Libby adopts a common sense approach, based on extensive research into risk factors and her understanding of the way cattle behave.

Libby’s tips for staying safe around cattle.
Libby's checklist for staying safe around cattle

You can also read David’s comment’s about Libby’s advice, along with David’s own tips for staying safe around cattle,  and experienced walk-leader, Mick Burton, shares his five simple rules here.

Now, the “official” advice…

Here are three of the most useful and authoritative official sources we’ve found.

1. Walking near livestock – The Ramblers

Advice that makes perfect sense, and will reduce your risk of injury and death, but may not work in every circumstance.  On the Ramblers’ website: Walking near livestock

walking near livestock - the Ramblers advice on how to keep safe near cattle

2. The Countryside Code – DEFRA and Natural England

General advice for the public in the countryside. Unfortunately, it gives no specific guidance about cattle, but does include a section on walking with dogs. Includes advice to let your dog off the lead if chased by cattle.

From the GOV.UK website: the online version of the Countryside Code

Countryside code, Defra, with minimal data on cattle attacks

3. Animals and rights of way – The Ramblers

Brief explanation of the laws around keeping animals in a field crossed by a right of way, including cows and bulls. Interesting to note that,in the eyes of the law, cattle are not classed as “dangerous animals”.

On the Ramblers’ website: Rights of Way law in England and Wales.

Ramblers legal advice re animals and rights of way for walkers

But… no advice works 100% of the time

Of course, following any of this advice does not guarantee you will cross a field of cattle safely, but it is certainly worth knowing and should reduce your risk of a cattle attack.

We are particularly keen to hear from people who have done everything correctly, but still had an unpleasant cattle encounter. Please let us know using our Report an Incident form.

Do you have any useful advice to share, or links that might be helpful? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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