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Animals and Public Rights of Way

Advice on animals, particularly cattle, on public rights of way.

Bulls and cattle in fields crossed by public rights of way

Normally cattle are fairly docile animals, however, when they have young they can become very defensive. Walkers need to take care if they encounter a field of cattle with young, especially if they have a dog.

Dairy bulls over the age of 10 months are not allowed to range freely in a field through which a public footpath or public bridleway passes.


Dogs should be kept under close control. Dogs running free in fields where there is livestock cause landowners great concern. However well behaved a dog is, it must be kept on a lead.

Dogs are considered as a normal accompaniment on a public right of way. Any changes made to a gate or stile to prevent dog owners from using the path may be considered to be an obstruction.

If dogs are fouling the path, you need to contact your local district or borough council.

Other animals

Some animals, for example ostriches, require an owner to have a licence and be registered with us. They cannot, therefore, be kept in a field through which a public right of way passes.