News

Staying safe on public footpaths

Dear community,

Following the tragic death near Burnt House Cottage last October we have reviewed the arrangements to ensure the safety of those using footpaths over farmed land. This is the first incident of this nature that we have experienced, and we want to do whatever we can to prevent a reoccurrence. As this note will explain we will need support from local walkers to achieve this goal.

Why we graze fields with public footpaths

Most of the land we farm is on poor soils or in flood plains (including most of our fields with footpaths) and best used for grazing. Grazing animals and good grazing rotations improve the soil, sequester carbon and increase wildlife and biodiversity. It is therefore important that we graze at the right time and the right amount, both of which are often determined by weather patterns and difficult to plan.

About our groups of cattle

We have two herds of mother cows with calves and a bull, one at Kidbrooke Farm and one at Tablehurst Farm. It is the most natural way of keeping cattle. The groups form families and the calves are only taken away from their mothers at 9 months of age, before the next calf arrives. The young stock is then kept in separate groups until maturity.

Curiosity and protectiveness, especially when calves are at foot, is normal behaviour for cows.

What we will do to help keep you safe

When cows with calves are in a field with a public footpath we will:

  1. Alert you by installing a sign on either side of the field for the duration the animals are in the field.
  2. Separate the animals from the footpath with an electric fence.

These provisions will not apply for the groups of young stock with no calves present.

How you can help us

Signs placed on public footpaths are sometimes removed or vandalised, and battery units for electric fences are occasionally stolen. Should you notice that signs or batteries are missing or damaged, please let us know straight away by emailing tablehurst.farm@gmail.com or calling us on 01342 823173.

How you can help to keep yourself safe

We hope you will feel reassured by these proposals, but we would also urge you to learn how to keep yourself safe on farmland, particularly if you walk with dogs. The Ramblers Association has published both general guidance, which you can find here: https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/walking-near-livestock.aspx and the “Dog Walking Code” which you can find here: https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/dog-walkers.aspx. We are putting links to these documents on our website.

Learn about our cattle

If you would like to visit our cattle out on the farm to learn more about them we are offering to run some small group events for this purpose. If you are interested, please email your contact details to tablehurst.farm@gmail.com.

Get in touch

If you have any concerns or observations about this message please do let us know. Please send all comments by email to tablehurst.farm@gmail.com. If you would like to speak to us on the phone or in person, please leave your contact details at this email address and we will get back to you.