Livestock and Animals

Sheep on hill

Livestock farming is a vital part of Exmoor's economy and it helps to maintain the wildlife, natural beauty and landscape for people to enjoy. Although incidents are very rare, there is a potential for conflict between livestock and people. This can be reduced with careful management which can improve public safety and reduce liability for farmers.

Detailed guidance for livestock farmers is available via the Health and Safety Executive website and we are also happy to help where we can.
Whilst fencing alongside a path to separate people and livestock is sometimes necessary, we do not normally encourage farmers to do this because it can:

  • create an additional maintenance cost for the farmer
  • look unsightly in the landscape
  • lead to poaching of the path surface, and
  • create a need for additional path surface strimming.

Please contact a Ranger if you are considering fencing alongside a public right of way to discuss the matter and make them aware.

Bulls and Dangerous Livestock

The law states that dairy bulls over 10 months of age are not allowed free range of any field through which a public path passes, whilst bulls of other breeds over 10 months of age must be accompanied by cows or heifers.  In any case it is very important that farmers take steps to monitor their animals' behaviour and take action to manage the risk to the public.