While strolling through the picturesque villages of England, we stumbled upon signs indicating public footpaths. We followed some of the signs and they lead us through privately owned meadows and farmlands, sometimes encountering grazing sheep.
It is important to note the attribute of public footpaths in England. Everywhere we went, we found clearly marked signs welcoming us to walked through a designated gate, or climb steps over the short stone walls, to experience grassy meadows, hills and valleys of the country.
Public Footpaths are established, maintained and officially mapped by the Countryside and Rights of Way(CROW) Act. Yes, the British government encourages people to enjoy and experience the glorious land. Some footpaths run through private property, among someone’s herd of sheep or private creek. Of course, one must roam these trails with total respect to the property, its owners and their stock.
At first, as a city-dwelling American and because I didn’t want to disturb the animals, I was taken back by a sheep and her lamb so out in the open and close to me. But, soon my childhood familiarity with farms and Italian countrysides came back to me, and I was comfortable, but cautious to keep my distance. I don’t think it’s wise nor welcomed to touch someone’s farm animals.
I managed to get this snazzy photo of me. However, when I notice the entire flock approaching, I did high tail it out of there – making sure to close the gate behind me.
I absolutely admired this aspect of exploring the English countryside. It allows travelers to really take in the beauty of the land and appreciate England’s free-roaming, grass fed animals. Keep this in mind as you plan your trip to England.