Janet’s walk along the South West Coast Path spoiled by ‘inquisitive’ cattle

On the 3rd July, this year, I was walking with a friend along the South West Coast Path. We had my dog on a lead, and we were on an inland section between Abbotsbury and Chickerell, near Clayhanger Farm.

We came to a stone stile and could see several cows on the other side. My friend climbed over the stile to try to shoo them away so that I could come over with my dog on the lead. They were not at all scared. I don’t think they even saw the dog.

As a result of trying to shoo them away, more cattle come running down the field towards us. My friend made a hasty retreat back over the stile. They were all pressed up against the wall looking over at us, and I have to say they even looked quite cute and I took a photo (shown above).

We obviously weren’t injured as we didn’t give them chance. We were not that scared either (apart from the dog) but it caused a big nuisance. We had a choice of either waiting for them to move away, which didn’t seem about to happen, or we had to find an alternative route as there was no other way into the field. We ended up retracing our steps and going through private property to find a road.

Later, I reported the incident to the local council, who did a site visit. The cattle were assessed as being inquisitive rather than aggresive, but I think it would have taken a brave person to push their way through the herd.

I felt really annoyed that the path was blocked on a right of way which is also a National Trail. It would have been relatively easy for the farmer to have created a safe way through the field using a fence.

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