Always be prepared for the unexpected. Even though most fields are fenced, stock doesn’t always remain on the right side of that fence. Farmers often move stock up and down roads and don’t always have the staff to have someone in front to warn traffic. Whether on foot, cycle or in a car, if you meet stock on the move, allow as much room as possible to pass and remember, where there are sheep there are often sheepdogs.
Animals are unpredictable, so it pays to err on the side of caution, especially with cattle. Both calves and lambs may be left by their mothers but she will usually return. If you see anything that concerns you, do not interfere but feel free to mention it to the farmer—there might well be a problem which he could manage to rectify.
Dogs can cause problems in the countryside. Cattle will chase dogs especially if they have calves at foot, it is an in-built natural instinct, if you have a dog on a lead and feel threatened by cattle, drop the lead as the dog can run faster than you can. Sheep will generally run away from dogs, although there is the exception to the rule when they will put up a fight. Unfortunately when they run, a dog may well follow, and there is a risk of sheep falling into drains, etc so it pays to keep dogs under control.
Then there are sheepdogs, to be found all over Tarset; they sit quite happily on the back of quad bikes, however, they are waiting for an excuse to jump off, so don’t take it for granted that they are glued on there. Many a motorist (and shepherd) have had a heart stopping moment when a dog has prematurely left it’s bike. Sheepdogs also have a reputation for nipping people, they are a kind, intelligent breed, however the herding instinct is not far away and there are many quite capable of sneaking up behind and having a nip - be warned!
Yes, we have red squirrels and they wander onto the roads too—especially where there are wooded areas nearby. If you travel from Greenhaugh towards Lanehead, you'll see the squirrel bridge overhead.
Oh, and most importantly, watch out for people walking on the roads, especially on dark winter nights. There are two street lamps in the whole of the valley and very few pavements.
Photograph: Every March, the National Park post signs with advice for visitors about lambing