2013-10-18   facebook twitter rss

Motorists Urged to Look Out for Livestock

Farmers who graze their livestock on Crosby Ravensworth Common are urging drivers to take care on the roads that cross the area at this time of the year.

Two recent accidents where cattle have died following collisions with motor vehicles have highlighted the importance of taking extra care when driving in the area.

Crosby Ravensworth Moor

photo © Jennifer Mackenzie

Cattle graze the area from 15th May until the clocks change in late October and sheep are grazed on the Common throughout the year. The animals occasionally wander onto the road or graze on the verges and are at risk of being hit by motorists, especially at night or in poor weather conditions. So far this month, two cows have had to be put down as a result of injuries they sustained after being struck by cars.

David Hewitt is a local farmer whose Highland cattle graze on the Common every year. He said: “Grazing is a traditional activity on the Orton Fells and most local people are well aware that livestock roam in the area, however, where animals and traffic mix there is always the potential for collisions.

“The sheep and cattle are part of our livelihood and our message to motorists is to ask them to reduce speed and drive to an appropriate speed for the conditions.

Gordon Bowness of the Crosby Graziers Group, added: “We must all help to keep these accidents to an absolute minimum, as no one wants to see cattle and sheep killed or injured – or motorists put at risk. We have worked with the Highways Agency and Natural England to do our best to alert drivers of the presence of livestock by installing caution signs along the roads, but at this time of the year we are asking drivers to be extra vigilant when driving along the B6260 between Appleby and Orton”.

Farming and recreation are important on the Orton Fells and throughout Cumbria, so the advice is to always to expect the unexpected and watch out for:

  • grazing livestock near the side of moorland roads

  • livestock resting, particularly at night, on the roads

  • slow moving agricultural vehicles

  • cyclists, sometimes two abreast or hidden round a bend

  • young, nervous or inexperienced horses and their riders

  • walkers;

The Crosby Graziers Group, Lowther Estates and Natural England support the use of cattle to graze the Common as part of an Environmental Stewardship scheme Higher Level Stewardship agreement. Over time, the grazing cattle will boost the overall biodiversity importance of the area, much of which is a nationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Natural England

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