Cattle and public access in England and Wales

Advice for farmers, landowners and other livestock keepers

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This information sheet is those intending to keep cattle in fields and enclosures.

It describes the hazards associated with keeping cattle, including bulls (uncastrated bovine animals of 10 months or over) and newly calved cows, in fields where the public has access in England and Wales (a separate version is available for Scotland).

It suggests reasonably practicable ways of controlling hazards for walkers. Land managers should also consider risks to other rights of way users such as horse riders and cyclists.

Although most of the guidance in this revision is unchanged, further emphasis has been placed on the risks posed by newly calved cows and cows with calves where a heightened maternal instinct may cause protective behaviour; particularly when a dog is present.

Those keeping cattle are also reminded that members of the public are unlikely to understand cattle behaviour and this should be taken into account when placing livestock on land. Advice on dealing with aggressive or unreliable cattle of any breed has also been revised and strengthened.

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Updated: 2021-03-05