Steve W: two more close encounters with cattle

I have reported several of the more unpleasant experiences I have had with cattle over the years. The first two incidents are detailed here: Two cattle encounters on the Pennine Way. Here are two more examples .

3rd Incident: caught up in a stampede

In August 2014, I was walking on my own in Kent along the Stour Valley Walk. I entered a large field which was about 200 yards wide. The footpath ran through the middle of the field, and I saw there were cattle at the bottom of a slope in the southern section of the field.

Suddenly, as I reached around the middle of the field, the cows charged.

They weren’t charging directly at me, but they wanted to be in a different part of the field. Luckily they were in open formation, because they ran right across my path from right to left, passing both in front and behind me.

I was unhurt, but it was an unnerving and disconcerting event.

4th Incident: “spotted” by cows

About a month later, on the 27th September, 2014, I was walking along the Saxon Shore Way in Kent. (Grid reference TR 331 615)

This field was triangular, with a high plateau descending towards a river, and the footpath ran along the side of the river. I saw a large group of heifers were standing near the path. I didn’t fancy being nudged into the river, so I decided to divert around the plateau keeping to the inland section of the field. No other exit was possible due to the high impenetrable hedge.

But the cattle had seen me enter the field, and put “spotters” out around the plateau, looking for me.

As I was three quarters of the way along the detour, two of the “spotters” saw me, and they summoned the rest of the herd. As they started to move towards me, they were briefly held up by the steep slope of the higher land they were standing on.

At this point I let out a mighty roar of “STOP” (like a pub landlord calling time). This bought me enough time to get to the exit.

I jarred my leg crossing rough ground to get out of the field. I didn’t notice this injury until the end of the walk, but then I had several weeks unable to stand without a stick or furniture to lean on, as one leg didn’t have the strength to bear weight when standing.

Why not have permissive paths?

If there are cattle in a large field, I would like to see permissive paths allowed around the border of the field, particularly on named long-distance paths, as these are the ones promoted for walking. For fields where this is not workable, the field could be split with temporary segregation between people and livestock along the line of the walking route. The farmer could move their stock to the other half of field when required.

Header Image by Jordan Stimpson from Pixabay

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