In my trip report I mentioned that I was surprised to find cattle on the path in Deepdale on the fell side. I was concerned that they showed undue interest in me and that they had fouled one of the few places where camping is possible in the dale. There was also some damage to the footpath.
I communicated these concerns to the National Park ranger service. Although I received an immediate response, the person responsible for Deepdale was on annual leave. Today I received a reply to my concerns.
Apparently, the cattle are part of an agreed improvement plan with Natural England and the farmer at Deepdale Hall. Rare breed cattle are being used to improve the pasture in preference to sheep.
I have no problems with this, after all, earning a living from farming is a tough job and rare breed cattle are probably more profitable than sheep. However, I have expressed a concern to the ranger service that there were no warning signs about free roaming cattle.
I’m not particularly nervous of cattle, but despite my efforts to give them a wide berth, they decided to come towards me. Fortunately, once I had passed them, they lost interest.
If I had had a dog or a child either me I would have been more concerned. We’ve all read of recent trampling incidents, especially of dog walkers. To me, it seems irresponsible not to warn people about the cattle. I can’t remember having encountered cattle before roaming free on the fells.
So, be warned, if you are walking in Deepdale, especially if you have a dog, you may encounter cattle. I think I’d probably avoid it for wild camping too. The only decent camping spot seems to be their favourite place as well. I’d also be careful of the water in Deepdale beck from Greenhow End downstream.