We have some younger animals in the lower fields at Lewesdon and the Angus bull, which is up in the higher fields, is desperately trying to get with them as he has done his business with his older girls.
The gate connecting the two groups has been pushed open by him a couple of times or left open unwittingly by walkers. We have put a chain and lock on it and ask if people could use the pedestrian gate in the east corner of the field if they are unable to climb over.
The ramifications of a big bull on young heifers is not a good outcome so hopefully people understand this temporary measure until the grass grows and we can move him elsewhere.
All last week walkers have been reporting padlocked gates at Lewesdon hill and one has already been vandalised.
Farmer, Tim Frampton explained: “Every year gates are left open letting cattle & sheep out which ruins our crops of silage. The locking of one gate on the footpath is only until the silage has been taken off.” There will soon be a directional arrow to the one kissing gate in the corner of the field.
His brother, Andrew commented: “Two kissing gates are right beside the existing field gates and the other one is 50 yards to the left in the corner against the hedge. The grass is now starting to grow and cattle are in the neighbouring field – it’s a tiny re route to prevent what happens every year, several times without fail!” He continued, “The Dorset footpath officer installed the gates for us and now just waiting for official signage from them“.
This is also at a time when young calves, sheep and lambs are grazing and are easily spooked. Dog walkers are again reminded to keep their dogs on leads through these fields. Last week, farmer Rachel Hayball issued a plea re: lambing season after losing a lamb early last month. Not restricted to Springtime, farmer, Jo Stover had her sheep attacked by dogs last November. Dorset Police signs were put up last week.
Senior Ranger for the West & Coast, Russell Goff when asked, was unaware of the changes made to the footpaths and at the time of publishing has yet to respond further. However, the post will be edited to include them, should he provide any comment or information.
Broadwindsor’s councillor, Dorothy Rowe is the ‘Rights Of Way and Liaison Officer‘, colloquially known as the Footpaths Officer. She has worked with Russell Goff, Senior Ranger on a number of footpath issues over the past three years. Cllr. Rowe, who has over time posted numerous notices up on footpath gates asking walkers to pick up after their dogs and respect the countryside, had spoken with Andrew Frampton and also walked up to Lewesden to look at the gates:
“There is now a clear sign by the locked gate indicating the site of the kissing gate 50 yds to the left. I understand that the footpath will be re routed to the kissing gate in the near future, I believe at the expense of the landowner.”
Wanting to share some of the issues around footpaths with people generally, Dorothy continued, “I think we are extremely lucky to have so many footpaths in this part of the world and such beautiful countryside. I don’t think that most people are aware that the designated space for a public footpath is a one metre width right of way across private land. It is appreciated that whilst dogs are able to be let off the lead and will inevitably wander off the path (where no livestock are in the fields) they must be kept under control. That means no throwing sticks , balls etc for dogs to chase. And all dog mess picked up immediately and taken away. Extra bins have been provided for this purpose on the way to and from Lewesden. The areas either side of the footpath are private and not a public park, are managed by the land owners for grazing and planting of crops, and this must be respected.”
For reporting footpath & bridleway problems to Dorset Council – Click HERE.
To report the problem by locating it on a map – Click HERE
Alternatively you can report problems by telephoning Dorset Council on 01305 2211000
Signposting and waymarking
Dorset Council has a duty to signpost public rights of way where they leave a metalled road. Rights of way are also signposted or waymarked particularly where the route is not obvious.
Stiles and gates
It is the landowner’s responsibility to maintain stiles or gates on public rights of way on their land. Dorset Council usually contributes a minimum of 25% of costs.
It is an offence to intentionally obstruct a public right of way. An electric fence across a right of way is an obstruction, regardless of whether the current is live or not. Electric fences alongside a right of way should be adequately signed and give plenty of width to ensure there is no danger of users coming into contact with the electric fence.
Ploughing and cropping
Crossfield paths may be ploughed or cropped as long as the path is reinstated within 14 days. Headland paths should not be ploughed or cropped.
A dog related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) across the Dorset Council area came into force on January 1st 2021. Read moreHERE.