A small herd of cattle, four cows and their calves, are now grazing the Common until January. Grazing by cattle is an essential means of managing the Common. Here are some basic rules from the National Farmers’ Union for walkers:

• Cows are nosey and may come to investigate, especially if you have a dog with you

• 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. Never get between cows and their calves – go around the herd and re-join the path as soon as possible

• Keep your dogs close, under control, in sight, and on a short lead around cattle

• If you are threatened by cattle release your dog so you can both get to safety separately

• Dog poo can spread disease to cattle. Bag it and bin it – there’s a waste bin by the road gate

REMEMBER: If you aren’t comfortable walking where there are cattle, there are many other footpaths nearby.

Why we need cattle on the Common

Cattle are one of the best ways of maintaining the grassland and improving the Common. When cattle are allowed to graze freely they select different plants, and even different parts of the plant, to nibble or browse. Over time, this selective eating by the animals creates a varied structure within the plants and the habitat. It is this that helps create the right conditions for a wide range of plants, insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals to exist.

Thank you for controlling your dog while there are cattle on the Common and ensuring the gates are closed.

For more information contact Parish Council: clerk@stonesfieldpc.uk