Walkers in Excessive Weald urged to maintain canines on leads after assaults on sheep

The groups appeal to hikers with dogs to keep them on a leash around farm animals because of the recent dog attacks on sheep.

They said that this time of year there is a “peak” number of sheep with lambs in fields and that when sheep are hunted they can die of stress and exhaustion and pregnant ewes can lose their lambs.

Hikers are also encouraged to follow the signs, leave the gates as they find them, stay on designated footpaths and back roads, and not trample the harvest.

The NFU has partnered with High Weald AONB to help remind people to follow the landscape code. Image: NFU

“In the past year, more people than ever explored the High Weald’s 2,395-mile network of footpaths, bridle paths and back roads,” said Jason Lavender, co-director of the High Weald AONB Partnership.

“However, increasing pressure from visitors – the two-legged and four-legged variety – has resulted in some of our hardworking farmers and rural businesses counting the cost.”

The NFU also reminds people to let their dog off the leash when they are being chased by cattle and should get to safety quickly.