I was recently chased by cows. Are you allowed to keep cows in a field which the public have access to?

There is no legislation preventing owners from keeping horses and cows in fields crossed by rights of way. The only animals that are banned are bulls (with certain important exemptions), wild animals and dangerous animals (bears, snakes etc).


The best we can do is give out advice:


  • Do be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
  • Do move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around them
  • Do keep your dog close and under proper control
  • Don't hang onto your dog if you are threatened by animals - let it go
  • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way round and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
  • Don't panic! Most cows will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly.
  • Don't forget to report any problems to the highway authority.


The last point is very important. These are working farms and so need to be allowed to operate as efficiently as possible, however the public have a right to walk these paths and nothing should prevent them from doing so. The highway authority has a duty to assert and to protect your right to use these highways.


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