We receive many reports from people describing how their peaceful walk was disrupted by the actions of aggressive cattle.
In many of these cases, nobody has been seriously injured, but people have been badly frightened. What should have been a pleasant experience was turned into a nightmare. In addition, many people report feeling apprehensive about future walks in the countryside.
Here are three examples of such reports:
Ellie’s story: chased by a cow
On the 4th May, 2020, I was walking with my partner along a path between Astwood Bank and Redditch in Worcestershire. We didn’t have a dog with us.
We were walking through a field, when we noticed a herd of cattle by the gate of the next field. There were about 30-40 cows in the herd and they seemed interested in us, but eventually walked away.
I was already nervous around cattle and I didn’t want to enter the field. The cows got around half a mile away from the gate, and my partner managed to convince me that it would be fine to walk through.
The field was very large and the next gate wasn’t even in sight. We got a couple of hundred metres into the field when the cows all started staring at us. They first began walking, and then running towards us.
We turned to run back to the gate. It was terrifying and I could hear their hooves getting louder behind us as we ran.
One cow broke free from the herd and was gaining on us very quickly.
We got through the gate, thankfully unscathed.
The cattle might have just been curious but as they are so large and unpredictable it is impossible to know. I would like to see cows banned from all public rights of way as they are huge and intimidating and, as this website proves, often dangerous even when unprovoked.
Since this incident, I have been very afraid when I see cows when I’m out walking. It has ruined several walks for me that I am now too scared to do.
Alex’s story: frightened by cattle
On the 2nd September, 2020, I was walking with my husband along a public footpath near Pendoylan (Cowbridge) in south Wales.
We saw a group of cattle, mainly bullocks I think. They ran away as we approached, but then came towards us as a group. I was walking behind my husband and had dropped back 20 feet or so. One animal in particular came out of the group and came towards me.
We escaped unharmed, but I was badly frightened by the encounter. There were no warning signs, and we didn’t have a dog with us.
Another story: charged by bullocks
On the 1st July, 2020, I was walking on my own along a bridleway that runs between Micheldever Village and West Stratton in Hampshire. The bridleway crosses a large field full of cattle. I think they were either Friesian Holstien or Dairy Shorthorn, but I’m not sure.
I was on foot and when I arrived at the entrance to the field the cows were completely blocking the bridle path gate. They were huge. I could see at least two large adult bulls, lots of adult cows, some calves, and some younger cows. All sorts.
I tried to move them away from the gate by waving my arms around and shooing them but they didn’t react. I waited 5 to 10 mins and the cattle still didn’t move away from the gate, so I then decided to climb over an adjacent locked gate, and walked around the herd, keeping at the edge of the field.
After a few seconds I noticed some cows or young bulls, I am not sure which, started following me. I stopped. As they approached, one bowed its head and charged towards me. It was terrifying.
The animal stopped just as it got to me, but then backed up and repeated the action several times more. I was completely trapped as there is barbed wire and thick high bushes at the edge of the field that prevented me escaping the field in a hurry. I tried to remain calm and walk on slowly, but it continued charging at me until I was further away from the herd.
I wasn’t hurt, but the experience was very frightening. The field was very large, with no warning signs, and I believe the farmers could easily fence of the area the public bridle path crosses. They should also put up signs about the bulls in the field.