In March 2017, I was walking with my husband, and we were following the Western Loop of the Witches’ Trail near Pendle. We had our small dog on a short lead.
Near Drivers Height Farm the footpath climbs steeply up a hill and runs next to a stone wall. We noticed a group of six cattle standing in the middle of the field. We stayed quiet and made sure to keep well away from them. Our dog did not bark or do anything to disturb them in any way.
As soon as we entered the field, the cattle immediately made their way swiftly toward us. The most prominent one – the leader – seemed to be all tan in colour and I think it might have been a bull, but I cannot say for sure. The other cows were different colours. Some were all black and others were pale. They had no calves with them.
We tried moving further away, until we were walking on very boggy ground right next to the stone wall. But they just kept coming.
I was scared and turned back. They pursued me to the gate, but my husband and the dog were still trapped inside the field. Standing at the gate I shouted and waved my hiking pole, until they moved off.
We waited until they had moved over to the other side of the field, and then we made another attempt to cross the field.
Once they saw us, they started making their way toward us again. It was very intimidating, but we remained calm and quiet and tried to give them a very wide berth. They pursued us no matter what we did.
In the end we gave up and left the field. We were forced to look for a longer yet safer route around. I was very shook up and I don’t even want to think about what would have happened had we been further from the gate and unable to get back, because the cattle kept coming and it’s such a steep ascent. The consequences could have been tragic.
It’s very sad when aggressive cattle prevent the public from using public footpaths. These animals are an accident waiting to happen. We saw no warning signs. I think there should have been very clear warnings. I also think cattle with aggressive tendencies should be kept out of fields with public rights of way.
Interestingly enough we had walked through a field just 30 minutes prior filled with black and white dairy cows, who did not bat an eyelid at our presence.
Approximate site of the incident:
Photo courtesy of MabelAmber on Pixabay