Check out our top five tips to help you enjoy the countryside this summer.
With the school holidays fast approaching and the fine weather continuing for much of the country it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy a walk in the countryside.
So it’s a good time to remember a few simple tips for helping to keep you, your friends and family, your dog, and the livestock you may encounter safe when out walking so you can fully enjoy the experience.
1. Observe your surroundings - Wherever there may be livestock present its best to walk calmly and quietly keeping an eye out for animals, particularly those with young or bulls. Just like crossing a road think Stop, Look and Listen when entering a field. Remember you won’t always be able to see the entire field, so you’ll need to stay aware.
2. Take the best route – Keep to paths where possible, but give livestock plenty of space. Keep any possible exits in sight. Don’t panic or run if cattle follow you - stay calm and walk quickly and quietly around the herd. Remember cows can be protective of their young so avoid getting between cows and their calves. If you are unsure, or concerned then choose an alternative route.
3. Control your dog – If you have a dog with you keep it close by your side and under control. Where there are cows and sheep put it on a lead. Remember, cows are nosey and may come to investigate, if you feel threatened release your dog to allow it to run to safety. Unfortunately hundreds of sheep are killed every year by dogs off of the lead and many more lose unborn lambs from sheep worrying. Farmers really appreciate considerate dog walkers.
We asked people to send us pictures of their dogs while out walking in the countryside - you can see them below.
4. Bag it and bin it – Unfortunately, dogs can spread diseases to farm animals, such neospora, but most can easily be prevented by ensuring you clean up after your dog. Not letting your dog climb into drinking troughs and making sure their worming regime is up to date make a real difference too.
5. Enjoy a Red Tractor picnic – If you’re packing a picnic to enjoy in the great British countryside, don’t forget to look out for the Red Tractor logo on the foods you buy. The logo, carrying the Union Flag, not only shows that food has been produced in the UK but also that it meets good standards of animal welfare as well as respect for the environment.
Have a fantastic time in the British countryside this summer and do join the NFU’s Love Your Countryside campaign to highlight how we can all enjoy beautiful rural areas of Britain responsibly.
The campaign is currently highlighting the death of thousands of livestock following dog attacks on sheep. Recent campaign activity looked at fly-tipping which now affects 67 per cent of farmers in England and Wales.
As well as raising the profile of these problems which hamper farmers doing their day jobs, the campaign offers practical steps we can all take to tackle these issues.