Get your grids up to standard

What are cattle grids?

Cattle grids are devices that prevent livestock from crossing roads or railways. They consist of a grid of bars or poles fixed over a dent or hole in the road – the grid is narrow enough for vehicles to pass over, but wide enough for animals’ legs to fall through, deterring them from crossing.

Where did they originate

It’s believed that cattle grids originated in Cornwall more than 2,000 years ago, when granite bars were placed over public footpaths. Much later in 1905 – and in response to the growing number of vehicles in use – automotive cattle guards started appearing in the Great Plains of the United States. It was another 30 years when the railroad cattle guard was introduced across American railways.

How were they regulated?

Cattle guards first came under legislation with the Highways Act in the 1950s. And the first standard designed specifically for cattle grids was not made available until 1966 with BS 4008:1966 Specification for Cattle Grids on Private Roads. We worked with more than 40 trade associations and government bodies to make sure we got the standard right – including the British Railways Board, National Farmers Union, Aluminium Federation and Ministry of Transport. But even this standard only covered private land as grids on highways were the responsibility of the Highways Agency at the time. Public roads were eventually covered by BS 4008:1991 Specification for Cattle Grids.

Knowledge Centre?

Members have free access the 1966, 1973 and 1991 versions of the BS 4008 series and will receive a 50% discount when buying hard copies or PDF versions. Find out more by contacting or +44 (0)20 8996 7004.

Back to the knowledge centre homepage

 Your basket
Your basket is empty