Chiaki’s story: hiding in a bush (expanded version)

[Editor’s note: Since first publishing her story here, Chiaki has since given us more information about the event.]

On the 16th August 2020, I was walking on my own along a public footpath by the Cuckmere River in East Sussex.

There were no warning signs about cattle, but a sign saying no dogs unless on a lead. I didn’t have a dog with me. If there was a warning about aggressive cows because of calves, I would not have used the public path especially on my own.

To start with, three brown cows appeared suddenly. They were just going to drink the water from the river, but I froze. I had never seen the cows outside the fence. It was my mistake… I decided to wait for them to go, so I stepped in to a field, not knowing there was a herd of black cows with calves in the field.

The black cows came close to me, and I was followed by two black cows particularly, one in front of me and the other behind me.

I hid in a bush to try to escape them. One of the cows came up to me and sniffed my head. I was just crouching in horror.

While hiding, I rang my son to let him know I was in trouble and asked him if anyone could come and help me or, maybe, call the farmer. My son rang the police for advice and the police rang me, but as I was not injured or trapped in the river, I was told there was nothing they could do to help me.

I was in the blackberry bush for two hours.

Eventually, a group of five youths rescued me, and they offered to walk with me. The brown cows were all over the footpath, they were acting aggressively and had calves with them. We had to wait for them to go. Fortunately, the farmer turned up in a tractor and guided the cows into the field so that we could get past.

Soon the cows came back to the river to drink water. I later took photos of the brown cows from the other side of the river.

The police kindly rang me later that evening to make sure I was fine and took notes of the incident. My son later told me, laughing, that the police had asked him if I was taking drugs or if I was drunk. I was almost crying and hysterical, but the last thing I wanted was wasting the police time.

I was fortunate that the cows did not knock me down to the ground. I was frightened, and had scratches from the bush, but luckily no other injuries.

I was certainly not aware that the cows would attack or follow people. I have learnt some lessons: to stay on the path, not to run or turn my back on cows, and not to stare at them.

I do love animals and nature, especially the countryside in UK, but cows should be kept away from the public footpath, especially if they are with calves.

All photos are Chiaki’s own.

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