Have you “herd” the one about a new cow-funded fence?
Sheffield’s runners and walkers got together in a unique ‘cowfunder’ appeal this summer. The aim was to raise nearly £3,000 in under 48 hours for a new fence on a popular run route near Ringinglow, also frequented by a herd of Limousin cattle.
“There’d been a few incidents over the last few years, and we knew that a lot of people felt nervous about running through that field,” said Doug Banks of Kandoo Events, who organise the Round Sheffield Run race that uses the route at the top of the Limb Valley.
“If you’ve got 20 cattle weighing about 7-800 kilograms each staring at you, it can feel quite intimidating.”
In 2014, runner Simon Coldrick was hospitalised after being trampled by cattle when leading a Totley AC fell race through the field.
So after talking to farmer Andrew Clark, Sheffield Council and runners and walkers groups, Doug set up a ‘crowdfunder’ appeal in June to raise £2,675 for a new fence to separate the beasts from the athletes.
He was amazed at the stampede to contribute, with the total raised in 14 hours – too fast for many people to get involved, said Doug.
“There are enough people who connect with the Outdoor City and realise it’s great that we’ve got all this on our doorstep that we don’t formally pay anything for,” he said. “So this seems to say that if there’s a specific thing that needs solving, there’s definitely a lot of people who will chip in.”
He added that the discussions helped him understand the difficulties faced by farmers, who have to keep rights of way available while raising their animals, but have no obligation to keep livestock away from paths.
“We hope we’ve come up with a solution that benefits everyone,” said Doug.
The fence is now in place, and Sheffield Council is resurfacing the path. A plaque will go up shortly to celebrate the appeal, marking everyone who donated more than £25, including Dig Deep Races and the Steel City Striders club who each donated a three figure sum.
“I’m really pleased how it went. Walkers, runners and families will now be able to use that route safe in the knowledge they won’t be chased by cattle,” said Doug. “People in the Outdoor City connect with each other, and this appeal gave me the real sense that people care for Sheffield.”