Lyme Park, Derbyshire: Dog electrocuted at country park near Peak District as fallen fence was still live

Winnie was given an electric shock by a damaged fence while out walking in Lyme Park, DerbyshireWinnie was given an electric shock by a damaged fence while out walking in Lyme Park, Derbyshire
Winnie was given an electric shock by a damaged fence while out walking in Lyme Park, Derbyshire
A fallen electric fence was still live and a cocker spaniel received a shock while walking at Lyme Park – with her owner dismayed at the National Trust’s ‘anti-dog attitude’.

Ruth Watson was out walking with her friends and dog Winnie when Winnie stepped on a fallen fence and was electrocuted. “She was left very shaken and didn’t seem herself for days. She was very quiet so I think it really affected her confidence.

“The electric fences are designed for cattle so if a dog like Winnie or a small child stood on the fence they would have been seriously hurt.”

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Electric fences were brought in at Lyme in 2022 in response to an increase of livestock worrying and attacks by other animals.The National Trust, which own and run Lyme in Disley, say electric fence usage allows them to designate previously off-limit areas as free-to-roam areas for visitors and dogs, while reducing the impact on livestock and ground nesting birds.

However, for Ruth she feels in recent years the focus has shifted. She said: “I am dismayed at the National Trust’s anti dog stance.

“It seems they are doing all they can to limit where we can go and cordoning off areas which defeats the purpose of it being a country park. If dogs have to be on a lead because of ground nesting birds, where are the rangers picking up fallen electric fences to protect the birds?

“The cattle at Lyme are very docile and there have never been any issues before. If you feel uncomfortable don’t go where the cattle are, there is no need for the fences.”

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The electric fences at Lyme emit small pulses rather than supply a continuous charge.

Ruth says she has not returned to Lyme since the incident and is unsure how her dog would react to being back there.

She added: “I think Lyme needs to change it’s policy and get rid of the electric fences.”

A National Trust spokesperson said: “Low-voltage electric fences are used in some areas of Lyme's parkland to improve access for visitors by containing livestock and keeping them off footpaths.

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“It also has the added benefit of protecting ground-nesting birds at certain times of the year from disturbances by other animals.

“Whilst electric fences are commonplace in the countryside, we do encourage members of the public to take care and keep dogs under close supervision. We make every effort to ensure that our visitors are aware of the nature of this fencing, through signage posted at regular intervals and our team of rangers regularly monitor these temporary fences at Lyme to ensure they're safe.

“In some instances, fences can become damaged, especially in open areas, and we encourage visitors to take extra care and notify us as soon as possible so we can make the area safe and secure again. The use of electric fencing allows us to provide over 4km of off-lead access for dog walkers, whilst managing the land in the way it requires and protecting livestock and nature.”

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