The incident happened at Ivescar, at the foot of Whernside. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The incident happened at Ivescar, at the foot of Whernside. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A Yorkshire Dales farmer has received a suspended prison sentence after a walker was trampled to death by cows on his land.

David Tinniswood was walking on a public right of way at Chapel-le-Dale in May 2020 when he was attacked by cattle, suffering fatal injuries.

The 83-year-old’s wife was seriously injured in the incident at Ivescar Farm.

Leeds Magistrates handed Christopher Paul Sharpe a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after he pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was also fined a total of £878 and ordered to pay £7,820 in costs. Sharpe, a partner in the farm’s operators, admitted the offence.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the couple were walking on a footpath that passed through the yard at Ivescar Farm, following a right of way that runs from the farm down to the road.

They were accompanied by two border terriers. The couple were attacked by cattle that were grazing in the field with calves at foot. The 83-year-old man was trampled and pronounced dead at the scene and his wife sustained serious injuries.

Ivescar Farm lies at the foot of Whernside, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Julian Franklin said: “A number of measures could have been taken to safeguard walkers using the path, while cattle and calves were grazing in that field.

“Firstly, not using that field for cattle and calves. Most farmers will have other groups of stock that can graze fields containing rights of way, so can reduce the risk of incidents by putting sheep in them, or they could take fodder crops from them.

“Cattle with calves can be put in fields without rights of way, away from members of the public, or can be segregated from walkers.

“Farmers should ensure they take all reasonably practicable precautions to protect walkers on public rights of way, especially when they are grazing cows and calves together, or bulls are present.”

The HSE said the two most common factors in incidents such as the one at Ivescar are cows with calves and walkers with dogs.

Its guidance to farmers says: “When you are considering where to keep livestock you should take into account that members of the public are unlikely to be aware of the behavioural characteristics of cattle.

“You should also consider the amount and type of public access in different areas of the land you manage (eg large groups of walkers with dogs every day, groups of children, or infrequent lone walkers).

“This will help you decide whether the cattle should be kept in certain areas and what precautions you need to take.

“Wherever possible keep cattle in fields that do not have public access, especially when cattle are calving or have calves at foot.”

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