My girlfriend, my dog and I were walking along the Wales Coast Path, on the Llyn Peninsula, in June 2018. We passed through a turnstile to find a herd of cows with calves. We proceeded to pass quietly along the path with our dog, aged 8, who has walked in the country with us all his life and never bothers with cattle, horses or sheep.
Keeping an eye on the cattle, I noticed one of the mothers getting agitated and starting to make a noise. She was at least 10 metres away, and she started to stamp and run at myself and our dog.
We stopped walking. I waved my arms and roared loudly as the cow bore down on us. Luckily it stopped, but was less than a metre away from me and our dog.
At this point, the dog started barking in reaction to my shouting and the intimidation of the cow. Which made the rest of the herd start to move toward us rapidly also. We had nowhere to go as the coastal cliff was behind us.
We kept shouting and began walking backwards, keeping eye contact with the nearest aggressive cows. We managed to back pace to the turnstile unhurt, but with our hearts pounding.
After we turned back, we met a few other walkers heading that way and we warned them about the cows.
We appreciate the cows had calves, and it is natural for them to be protective, but we know the farmer has plenty of land, and other fields he could put cattle with calves in. We could see fenced fields nearby. The farm even has a caravan site attached, so he was endangering his guests as well as coast path walkers.
These coastal paths bring in tourist money. This doesn’t just help the farmer, but also the local economy, including his neighbours who have shops, eateries etc. Why put cattle with young calves on a coastal path with cliff edges?