In East Farndon, many of the fields have ‘right of way’ footpaths that allow walkers and ramblers to pass through without damaging crops or disturbing grazing animals. This creates a relative harmony that for most of the year causes very few problems. However, it is important to remember that this is a working environment for farm staff, and visitors should remain vigilant of animals, machinery and vehicles. These footpaths are signposted and clearly marked as official routes, so to avoid unnecessary upset, it is best to keep to the marked walkways.

Be vigilant, especially on entering a field or where you cannot see the whole field, and try to stay away from animals and to be aware of their movements. In the spring, it is especially important to be sympathetic to farm animals rearing their young and give them space. Cows are naturally very protective of their young and have been known, on occasions, to charge at walkers. On very rare instances this has led to serious or fatal injuries to those involved. Although right of way footpaths may exist through fields with grazing cattle, sometimes it is better to take the longer route and admire the herd from a distance rather than risk potential conflict.

When walking with dogs in fields with cattle, the advice is to avoid getting between cows and their calves; to keep your dog under close and effective control on a lead around cows and sheep, but not to hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle – let it go and allow the dog to run to safety. This offers the best chance of a safe outcome to both you and your dog. If you feel threatened by animals protecting their territory or young, do not run. Move to the edge of the field and, if possible, find another way round.

East Farndon Parish Council has a dedicated Footpath Warden, who, in partnership with the farm landowners, keep an eye on the upkeep and maintenance of our footpaths, including those through farmland. If you spot a problem – maybe an obstruction on the path or damage to a stile – please contact East Farndon Parish Council. They will then investigate, and if necessary, notify the relevant landowner and / or West Northamptonshire Council (who have responsibility for footpaths). To do this, please email the Parish Clerk at: parishclerk.eastfarndon@gmail.com

The Countryside is there for us all to enjoy and admire throughout the year, but it comes with a responsibility that we all share to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone.