Rights of Way

Animals and Rights of Way


  • Dogs accompanying walkers on public rights of way must be kept under close control and not allowed to stray off the path.Straying, or worrying of livestock is a serious offence and landowners can take action. For more details see the countryside code
  • Dog owners should remove dog faeces and dispose of it safely
  • Landowners are under no obligation to provide access specifically for dogs (eg. a dog-hatch adjacent to a stile)
  • Landowners should ensure that their own dogs do not intimidate users or obstruct the right of way.

Many people use public rights of way to walk their dogs. We have carried out research New approaches to managing dogs in the countryside to help us understand the views and needs of dog walkers.

Dogs on your land: Guidance for landowners 1.4mb pdf


Horse riders may use bridleways, restricted byways or byways open to all traffic. They may only use footpaths if they have the landowners permission. Cyclists must give way to walkers and horses on bridleways; in all other cases users of our rights of way should give due consideration to other users.


Livestock should be treated with respect and caution. Bulls are not allowed to roam freely in a field crossed by a right of way, except where:

  • The bull is less than 10 months old, or
  • The bull is not of a recognised dairy breed (Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey or Kerry) and it is accompanied by cows or heifers.

Landowners should erect appropriate signs to alert users if bulls are in a field crossed by a right of way. There are no restrictions governing the grazing of other domestic livestock on rights of way.

Escaped Livestock/Animals

Should you encounter a situation where livestock or other animals have wandered out on to the road please contact the police.

Other animals may include llamas, water buffalo, goats or geese.

Dog walker
Horse riders
Cows in field