Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Guidance Note from National Trails Office

Bulls & Sucklar Cows along Waymarked Walking Trails in Ireland
A Guidance note from the National Trails Office / Irish Sports Council

Many waymarked walking trails around the country go through open fields and farming areas.  On some walking routes, walkers may on occasion come into contact with farm animals including bulls and suckler cows.
The National Trails Office would encourage all trail management groups to promote the following to trail users if there is a chance that they may come into contact with bulls and suckler cows on waymarked walking trails.
  1. When walking through a field with animals always keep them in view. Don’t turn your back on them.
  2. Do not bring dogs into fields where there are farm animals.
  3. Carry a walking stick through fields with animals.
  4. Be prepared for cattle to react, and, where possible, walk carefully and quietly around them - do not split up a clustered group and do not run.
  5. Should a bull or cow come up very closely, turn round to face it. If necessary take a couple of steps towards it, waving your arms and shouting firmly.
  6. Above all, do not put yourself at risk. If you feel threatened, find another way round, returning to the original path as soon as is possible.
  7. Remember to leave gates as you find them (open or closed) when walking through fields containing livestock.
  8. If you are attacked or suffer a frightening incident, report this to the landowner, trail management group/agency and the National Trails Office.

A walking route should not be routed through lands with unpredictable and threatening animals present. In a circumstance where there is a bull or suckler cows in a field where there is a waymarked walking trail, the National Trails Office recommend a warning notice be erected to notify trail users.
When the National Trails Office report the presence of a bull or suckle cow along a walking trail, as part of an annual inspection, it will report this as an important maintenance issue.  The recommended remedial action should be undertaken as quickly as possible by the agency responsible for the walking trail.

The National Trails Office recommends that all trail management group’s work in partnership with farmers and other stakeholders to ensure appropriate measures are taken to inform trail users of the presence of livestock.