Table 2

The most commonly occurring guidelines and advice obtained when searching for information using the ‘Google’ search engine, which describes best practice when walking through fields of cattle

GuidelinesNumber of mentionsSources
Leave gates and property as you find them3Countryside Code
Natural England
The Ramblers
Follow paths unless wider access is available such as ‘Open Access’ land3Countryside Code
Natural England
The Ramblers
Do not be afraid of cattle but be mindful they are protective of their young1NFU Cymru
Take a walking stick with you2NFU Cymru
Be bold and walk straight through the cattle if the animals move towards you1NFU Cymru
Avoid getting between cows and their calves. Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you1NFU and Ramblers
Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd1NFU and Ramblers
Do not put yourself at risk. Find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible1NFU and Ramblers
Do not panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly1NFU and Ramblers
If you feel threatened, just carry on as normal, do not run, move to the edge of the field and if possible find another way round the field, returning to the original path as soon as is
Try to keep quiet and move away calmly and out of the field as soon as possible. Try not to surprise the
If cows get too close, turn quietly to face them with arms
Walk around cattle, rather than through
If jostled by cows, turn to face them, wave your arms to make yourself look as big as possible and shout
Apparently bulls can be controlled by twisting the ring in their
If you want cattle to go away, wave your arms around and shout at
Bulls: give it a reasonably wide berth and walk as quietly round it as you can (try not to run). If you have a close encounter with one you can (in theory) use the ring in its nose to control it, grab the ring and twist
Keep dogs under effective control:
  • On a lead, or in sight at all times, be aware of what it is doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command.

  • Ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access.

5Countryside Code
Natural England
NFU and Ramblers
If cattle chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead—do not risk getting hurt by trying to protect it6Countryside Code
NFU Cymru
NFU and Ramblers
The Ramblers
Take extra care when walking dogs around livestock (especially young farm animals)
Be especially vigilant if you find yourself with your dog in a field with both cows and calves
3The Ramblers