Sheep and cattle grazing in Ashdown Forest warning

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SHEEP and cattle will be out in the 550 hectare grazing area of the Ashdown Forest between the A22 and B2026 from April 1 until further notice, Conservators say.

The area is fully fenced and they ask walkers to make sure they close gates behind them. Sheep and cows will be widely spread across this section of the Forest and people might come across them unexpectedly. Everyone is free to walk there at any time but dogs must be kept under close control, preferably on a lead.

Conservators say people should never let their dogs chase sheep as the most friendly and placid of dogs can become a killer. Farmers can legally shoot a dog worrying livestock. Cows may see a dog as a threat and act defensively, especially if they have calves to protect.

Try not to get between cows and calves, be prepared for them to react to your presence, move quickly, quietly and if possible walk round the herd and keep your dog under control.

But if you are threatened by cattle let your dog off the lead as the cattle will chase the dog, not you, and the dog can get away faster.