Rose’s story: surrounded by charging cows

A couple of days ago (on the 11th May 2021) I was walking on my own along a public footpath in Devon.

I was walking through a field that I’ve walked through multiple times before. This time, however, I saw there were cattle in the field – at least twenty cows, maybe more. I’d walked through fields with cattle many times before, so I wasn’t worried. They were on the other side of the field, and I kept my distance.

A stream runs along the middle of the field, and there is a bridge you cross over. As I got closer to the bridge, I noticed the cattle were walking towards the bridge too, which didn’t alarm me. I stepped out of the way, thinking I would let them pass by first. But, instead of crossing and going on their way, the cattle circled around me and blocked me from crossing the bridge. Frustrated, but still not worrying, I turned around and started to walk back the way I came. The cattle followed.

I started to feel uneasy. Something wasn’t right.

And then, the cattle started to run at me – getting very close (but not touching me). They would run up fast, and stop before they reached me, and then fall back again. Sometimes they charged in groups, and sometimes one at a time.
I didn’t understand if they saw me as a threat, or perhaps they were ‘playing’. Maybe they thought I was a farmer with food!

I was extremely frightened.

Picking up speed, I walked quickly without running, and headed towards the gate. I felt so scared, I even considered jumping the barbed wire fence to get out of there even quicker, as I thought this would be a better option than potentially being trampled. Some cattle blocked the gate, but I got the courage to walk straight through them.

Luckily, I got out of the field safely.

After I left the field, the cattle all gathered at the gate I’d just walked through. I came out unharmed but shaken up, especially as I was a young girl on my own with no one in sight should things have gone wrong. I think there should be more awareness of what to do in this situation. Farmers should ensure clear signs are present when there is livestock in fields which have public footpaths running through.

I’d never experienced this with cattle before and will think twice about entering fields with livestock now.


Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

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