From: Sue Hall, Park Drive, Eldwick, Bingley.
I WRITE regarding Roger Ratcliffe’s feature (The Yorkshire Post, July 11) on his favourite Yorkshire walks and the headline “The heifers would have trampled me if I hadn’t leaped a barbed wire fence”.
I along with various members of my family raise friesian calves on a small farm, Ivy House, Wilsden Road, Harden near Bingley. I believe Mr Ratcliffe may have well walked through some of the paths that cross our land as he had mentioned the walk up to Goitstock water falls in the weekly walking column.
We work hard on our farm to maintain the environment and the footpaths for the enjoyment of walkers and runners.
I, myself, run with Bingley Harriers and in fact only last Thursday evening ran the Bingley Circular he mentioned in the article in the magazine, and agree it is a wonderful route.
In fact, we have got a pre-booked meeting with the footpath chap, Dave Ruse, from Bradford Council in order to improve a couple of stiles on our land.
I find it hard to believe that Mr Ratcliffe felt he would have been trampled by the heifers.
Firstly, I believe there is a small flaw in the statement, in that the heifers would have stopped well before the barbed wire fence as if they hadn’t they would have been badly injured when they ran into it, and it is likely they would have been aware of this.
Friesian calves/heifers are extremely tame, and as I, weighing in eight stone, do never feel intimidated when stood amongst a group of around 50 of our calves. I agree with his statement that they are curious, but in my experience would never harm you.
Mr Ratcliffe’s statement does nothing to help farmers, and trying to be positive, I do believe there is possibly an opportunity to educate people so that they are not afraid to walk through young stock.
I have witnessed people’s resistance when running with the Harriers and I have been able to take the lead through such animals and demonstrate there is nothing to be afraid of.
Farming, especially dairy farming, is going through a tough time and we need the public to support us and see how we look after the environment and graze land so that the public can walk through it.
If there was no stock in these fields, then the land would become overgrown, with grass, thistles and brambles etc. and it would not be possible to walk through it. Even worse, if some of the green belt around us became housing.