The sight of spring lambs may feel a little way off but the sheep on the Malvern Hills and Commons are in lamb. Please take extra care if you're visiting with your dog as pregnant ewes are more vulnerable and can abort their unborn lambs if chased by dogs.
The locations of livestock within the Trust's grazing schemes can be found in Stockwatch which is updated each week to help dog owners plan their visit. Livestock worrying, which includes chasing, is a crime and could result in a fine, or in serious cases, the destruction of the dog. Each year sheep are killed on the Hills and Commons but these incidents are completely avoidable if dogs are kept on a lead.
Beck, Community and Conservation Officer said "If in doubt about how your dog will behave around cattle and sheep, always keep it on a lead. You may find livestock outside of the compartments listed in Stockwatch as 90% of the land under the Trust's care is Common Land. You will find sheep and cattle are grazing freely throughout Castlemorton and Hollybed Commons so you should always be prepared to meet livestock on your visit."
"For this reason, please keep your pet under effective control at all times which means keeping your dog in sight at all times, being confident it will return on command, or kept on a lead. The Hills and Commons are also visited by walkers, horse riders and cyclists who may not want to be approached by your dog even if you think it's being friendly."
If you witness a livestock worrying incident, please report it to the Trust on 01684 892002 to alert a grazier to attend. An animal receiving swift veterinary treatment could save it's life. You should also report the incident to the police on the non-emergency 101 number.
Sign up to receive a weekly email with the locations of livestock straight to your inbox and you can find a Stockwatch update printed in the Malvern Gazette each week.