Cows escape as fences on Biggleswade’s commons deliberately broken

'Cows could easily get onto Fairfield Road or Shortmead Lane'
'Cows could easily get onto Fairfield Road or Shortmead Lane'

An urgent plea has been issued to ask Biggleswade residents not to cut the wire fences at the commons, as cows keep escaping and causing a safety hazard.

On behalf of the town’s graziers, Fen Reeves – a committee which manages local commons – is pleading with the community not to break the wire fences of Shortmead Common or Furzen Hall Common, because cattle have escaped, potentially putting themselves and the public at risk.

Around five weeks ago, cattle escaped from Furzon Hall into a neighbouring field, and on August 9, wire fencing was cut again in Shortmead Common and six cows escaped.

John Scott, of Fen Reeves, said: “It has been happening sporadically for quite a while, particularly this season.

“Someone walks across the common, takes their wire clippers and snips three strands of barbed wire.

“Six animals got out [on August 9] and managed to get into an adjoining property’s garden.

“At 8pm I got a telephone call. They were in the vegetable patch.

“The herdsman had one or two people to help, and the grazier had one or two there.

“We penned the cows at the bottom of Shortmead Common to settle them before they went back to the pasture.”

But John realises that the consequences could have been far worse.

He added: “They are not far away from a road at Shortmead. They could easily get on to Shortmead Lane, or on Fairfield Road and head towards the high street.

“There would be mayhem!”

The committee and the graziers are worried about the safety of the animals and the public, and John says it is causing the graziers to worry what would happen to their animals if they got on to a road.

John said: “The pasture at Biggleswade Common has been grazed by cattle for centuries, but this practice has been put at risk by mindless individuals.

“There is a serious risk of animals causing further damage to property or vehicles, or injury to animals and people.

“We welcome the many Biggleswade residents who regularly walk over the common, but not those who take wire cutters to damage the fences or, as happened recently, release animals from the holding pens.

“Please help us to manage our common for the benefit of current and future users of the land.”

If you have any information about the recent damage, please contact the Chronicle, who can put you in touch with John.