Livestock on the Northumberland Coast

Sheep grazing at Dunstanburgh

Agriculture is the primary land use at Craster and over many years farming has shaped the landscape we see today. To help you enjoy the walking on offer here at Dunstanburgh we recommend you follow the Countryside Code on your visit.

Walking and livestock at Craster

Agriculture is the primary land use at Craster and over many years farming has shaped the landscape we see today. To help you enjoy the walking on offer here at Dunstanburgh we recommend you follow the Countryside Code on your visit

Like much of Northumberland, Dunstanburgh is dominated by livestock farming - cattle and sheep. Here are a few key tips to help you stay safe with livestock across our farmland:  

  • Try not to startle livestock
    • As you approach, whistle or talk to the animals so they are aware of your presence. If you then walk calmly and quietly past, the animals are more likely to ignore you. Cattle may become excitable or frightened by large groups, so try to keep group members calm and quiet as you pass.
  • Don’t panic or run if cattle approach you – be confident
    • Cattle are often very inquisitive and move towards you, but they will usually stop before they reach you. If you run they may think that it’s a good idea to follow you!
  • Think ahead
    • Don’t allow yourself to become cornered by a group of cattle.  They may be just curious, but cows pushing from the back of the herd could cause those in front to panic if they are forced too close to you. If you find cattle blocking your way, clap your hands loudly as you approach and they should move out of your way. If not, leave the path and go round them away from the sea where there are footpaths further inland.
  • Take extra care with livestock when they have their young present
    • Do not get between mothers and their young as most are very protective and can become aggressive. Give yourself a wide detour.
  • Leave all gates as you find them

 

Dogs and livestock

Be aware that walking with a dog may make livestock more likely to show an interest in you.

  • Always keep your dog on a lead when passing through areas with livestock or sensitive wildlife. Never allow your dog to worry livestock, which can involve chasing or attacking them. 
  • Leave space and be wary of cattle
    • Leave as much space as you can between your dog and the animals. Don’t worry too much about sticking to the line of the path - give them room and take detours if necessary. If you are threatened by cattle, it is safer to let go of your dog’s lead. Your dog is likely to run away to safety and meet you further along the path. Do not risk getting hurt by trying to protect your dog, such as picking it up. The cattle may still try to get to your dog as they think it is the threat.