Who we are

We are the COWS (Cows On Walkers Safety), a small group of walkers who have come together to raise awareness of the dangers posed by cattle. Some of us have been badly scared. Some of us have been badly injured. Some of us nearly died.

What we are not

We are not an official organisation. We have no funds and no political agenda. We do not represent farmers, lobbyists, or lawyers. We are not out to make money.

Why we are here

Our aim is to make our footpaths safer for walkers, across England and Wales, by reducing the risk posed by cattle.

How are we doing this?

We have collected information, research, statistics and personal stories, all in one place, to be used as a resource by walkers, by the media, and by anybody else interested in improving safety in our countryside.

  • Statistics are important to help persuade the authorities that this problem is larger and more common than they realise.
  • Stories are important to show that these events happen to ordinary people, people like you and me, who simply set out to enjoy the countryside.

What are we campaigning for?

  1. All farmers who keep livestock to carry personal liability insurance.
  2. All cattle to be separated from walkers on our National Trails.
  3. A central database, where all incidents of cattle aggression against walkers can be recorded across England and Wales.

How YOU can help.

We want to record the stories of people who have been scared or injured by cattle. Please, help us collect this information, and tell us your story, by taking a few minutes to fill in our reporting form.

Support our campaigns by raising the issue with relevant organisations and by spreading the word on social media.

If you want to join our COWS group and help with our work, please contact us via the contact form.

12 thoughts on “About

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  1. I have been around livestock all my life and when walking alone, I generally have no issues with cattle. That completely changes when walking with my dogs. I’ve been harassed, jostled and charged by cows and had to let my dogs go, which for them is dangerous when the choice is get trampled or run towards a road. I’ve seen them chased around a field by cows. My neighbours husband was killed by cows, it’s no joke. I wholeheartedly believe that respect goes both ways. The public must respect the land, keeping dogs under control. In return they must be provided safe passage on public footpaths. This year in particular I’ve seen more cows blocking footpaths and more areas that I’ve been prevented from walking on. It often seems deliberate to keep people away. It would take very little to have a piece of field segregated and would protect lives.

    The comments from a particular ex farmer on here are nonsense and deliberately belittling. Most people avoid cows and walk calmly through fields at distance. I couldn’t pick up by 30kg dogs if I wanted to.


    1. Very sorry to hear about your neighbour’s husband, Sarah. How awful and tragic. I agree with you about respect going both ways, and there must be a way of balancing the needs of farmers with the rights of walkers.


  2. I don’t see there to be any reason why Cattle can NOT be behind electric fences. Quite often I see sheep contained with them, and as a walker, I get very anxious. Please please make it law that electric fences should be used.


  3. Hi, like Cherie I’ve become petrified of walking anywhere near cows, specially with my dog, so my enjoyment of walking is spoiled by my worry about having to cross fields or paths where cows are present. I wasn’t bothered until an incident a few years ago in the Lake District where my husband and I were walking with our dog and got surrounded by cows that were not happy! My husband used to be a stockman working with cows and sheep, and managed to move them on but I found it very frightening and had jelly legs for some time afterwards, and the experience has stayed with me for years. After that I refused to walk our dog through fields of cows, and walks have been ruined by huge arguments between myself and my husband as he thinks I’m being ridiculous. We have public footpaths through parkland directly opposite our home, but I haven’t walked our dog over there for months since cows have been put in all the fields that the footpaths cross and will probably be there for a while yet. The cows were joined by a bull a few weeks ago. My husband insists on taking our dog across the fields every day, even though there are other walks that he could take. I think most of the time he is doing it just to be awkward. I even have sleepless nights about it. There are no signs on any of the field entry gates to let people know there is a bull in the field. I’ve tried to read some of the articles on your website to husband but he is very dismissive and generally blames the people who have been injured or had awful experiences…hence more heated discussions!! I believe that cows should be separated from public footpaths (including those that cross national trails, national trust land etc) and that farmers and landowners should be made to show that rigorous risk assessments have been undertaken for any exceptions where cows have to remain on land crossed by public footpaths. There needs to be more awareness before anything is likely to change, so well done for highlighting the problem and giving people a forum to discuss their concerns.


    1. Hi Sue. Sorry to hear about your frightening incident and very sorry to hear how this has spoiled your walks in the countryside. We will keep collecting stories and keep campaigning for safer footpaths. Until then, avoiding fields with cattle is a sensible idea.


  4. As a retired farmer I find your lack of knowledge amazing. All evidence shows that people attacked by cattle have gone among them with a dog on a lead then picked the dog up. If the dog is allowed to run free the cattle will follow and the dog is quite capable of out running cattle. Pick up the dog or stand between the cattle and the dog and you encourage them to focus on you.


    1. Paul, please read some of the horror stories we’ve collected through our reporting facility on this website. Most people did NOT pick up their dog. In fact, I can’t remember a single case where they did. And many people (2/3 of our reports) were not walking with a dog at all. It’s nice to pick on simple solutions, but the problem is more complex than that.


  5. I love walking but I’m petrified of cows so if I encounter them whilst on a walk,I always go around I never enter the field,people think I’m silly.i hope one day I’m not so scared and they don’t effect my walking


    1. Hi Cherie, sorry to hear of your anxiety around cows. Most of the time, of course, most cattle are perfectly safe. But, as our stories demonstrate, there are rare occasions when cows turn into dangerous beasts. You are wise to try to avoid them.


  6. Awful to read about people being trampled. Truley terrifying. However I don’t see what you can do tbh. Cows live in fields and footpaths cross fields. The cows are a farmers “crop” Are you proposing to compensate farmers for loss of grazing if their cows are moved or to pay for fencing? At the moment there is a hay shortage so it’s not like cattle can be kept in.


    1. We’re certainly not suggesting cows should spend their lives indoors (as they do on intensive farms in the USA). However the HSE advice is to assess the risk posed by herds and segregate from walkers where possible. There are lots of things farmers can do – and some are very good at doing the right thing.
      For example, they can avoid putting cows with calves in fields crossed by footpaths. They can place feeding troughs away from footpaths, and certainly not near the only gate out of the field. They can provide alternative permissive routes through their farms to avoid cattle – there is a project in Cornwall that is doing this. And they can provide ‘escape’ routes out of fields by ensuring there are climbable fences and removing barbed wire.


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