On the 30th September this year, I was walking on a public footpath in Cornwall, on a circular route from Millook, near Bude, through Trebarfoote Farm, which is where the incident happened.
I had three dogs with me, all on short leads. We entered the field calmly and the cows seemed laid back and not alarmed. We had to cross the field (to follow the hedge line would have exposed us to danger for a lot longer, as it happened). About halfway across, a hefty cow turned and approached us purposefully from alongside a mound and was looking threateningly at the dogs.
I instantly realised the danger we were in, as I have lived on a family farm for most of my life (I am now 60) and am very familiar with cows and their behaviour.
I made to turn back but a number of other cattle had quietly approached us from behind as we had walked, and we were effectively surrounded. The dogs were terrified and tried to escape, at the same time as I tried to make for a small gap between the cattle to reach the far gate.
But I ended up on the ground, being trampled under the hooves of 10 or 15 cows.
The dogs miraculously escaped and bolted for the gate. Somehow, I managed to get up and make my escape by the same route. I retrieved the dogs, one of which had got stuck under the gate, but was unharmed, and made my way to the nearest house about 1/4 mile away to get help.
Injuries from the attack
I was taken to hospital, and had a number of x-rays and scans. Luckily nothing was broken and I was released, but I did have severe bruising to various parts of my body. This included severe bruising to my right leg affecting the front of my thigh, my outer knee and my calf. I also had bruising to right side of my abdomen, my right elbow and my inner left arm. In addition I had strained ribs and bruising across my lower back.
Some weeks later, and I’m still not fully recovered. My main concern is my lower back, which was twisted, and the thigh bruise which has left a large lumpy dimpled mass under the skin – hope that will eventually go.
The cows involved were a pedigree herd of Red Devons and they were extremely large! The one that trod on me was easily 700kg if not weightier. (That’s over 2/3rds of a ton!) This breed is supposed to be placid, but I was really lucky to get out of that situation alive and not seriously injured, and my dogs equally so.
What has angered me is that I found out that this has happened before to someone else about two years ago, same location, same herd (give or take), same owner. I am in the process of reporting this to HSE and have spoken to the NFU as well.