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The danger of cows to walkers.

(167 Posts)
Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 11:22:21

As keen walkers we are alway very wary of walking through any field with cattle, I have been known to do huge diversions, particularly if they have calves at heel.

I read a report yesterday of a lady near Masham who was almost trampled to death and now has a colostomy bag as a result of her injuries.

Should footpaths be diverted or fenced to prevent these attacks where cattle maybe present?

A farmer on one of our regular routes has had to sell his herd after they were deemed unsafe, they attacked a lady who was hospitalised for weeks with her injuries, this seems unfair to the farmer yet I do believe we should all be able to enjoy the countryside.

What could be done to make it safe for walkers but not discriminatory for farmers?

EllanVannin Sun 16-Jan-22 11:27:08

Just keep away from fields where herds of cows are. I can't understand what goes on in someone's brain that they think it's safe to walk where cows are.

Josieann Sun 16-Jan-22 11:28:15

That really shook me up when I read it. We have cows roaming where we walk with the dogs and we always keep a respectful distance. I'm not sure what the best answer is for everyone, walkers and farmers.

janeainsworth Sun 16-Jan-22 11:28:43

I think if a footpath is a public right of way, farmers should be required to fence them or divert them if they are using the land to graze cattle.
Like you we have frequently had to divert our route. Once we were walking along a track which was not only a public right of way, but wide enough and sufficiently paved for a vehicle to drive along it, and a large herd of cows completely blocked the way.

Kim19 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:30:01

I agree with EV and always give cattle a wide berth. After all it is their territory whereas walkers are just passing through.

Coastpath Sun 16-Jan-22 11:30:14

Like you Sago I take huge detours to avoid cattle, especially as I always have a dog with me.

It's just not worth taking risks with cattle especially when they have their young with them and/or you are walking with a dog.

Whilst its great to be able to enjoy the countryside the land is often owned by farmers who are there to farm cattle - I think if we're enjoying the countryside it's our responsibility to stay away from livestock.

AGAA4 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:31:48

There should not be footpaths through fields of cows. They can be dangerous. There should always be a barrier between people and cattle.
My DD and SiL entered a field on a footpath not realising till too late there was a bull in there. It became aggressive and chased them. They escaped through a hedge with torn coats and a few grazes. They are both very fit. If it had been me I wouldn't have got away.

Blossoming Sun 16-Jan-22 11:33:35

Follow the Countryside Code. I’m not afraid of livestock, having been around them for many years, but I wouldn’t take risks.

1summer Sun 16-Jan-22 11:36:57

I am terrified of cows. A few years ago we were on a long walk on holiday when we came across a field with cows, we had no choice but to go through the field. We kept well away from the cows but they suddenly started to charge towards us. We think they were expecting food. I dived towards a wire fence to scrabble under but stupidly didnt realise it was electrified!! Fell flat on my face in the mud. Managed to get out of field and complete walk caked in mud. I will now do long detours to avoid cows,

ExDancer Sun 16-Jan-22 11:38:49

Cows with calves will be protective and will attack anything they deem menacing. Usually cows on their own will just be curious, but they are big animals and can damage you without intending to.
Generally beef cows are less aggressive than dairy breeds but thats a sweeping statement and not to be relied on.
If you're in a field with cows they will tend to come over and check you out, walk slowly and don't wave your arms about or make a noise, stay by the hedge.
The best thing to do if you have a dog is to let go of it's lead, your dog can run faster than the cows and faster than you, and the cows will chase the dog.
Cows are domesticated but they are not pets (well some are, most aren't) so don't try to make friends with them or feed them.
I'm a farmer's wife and I'm not afraid of cows, but I treat them with respect and give them the space they need.

Hetty58 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:41:56

What about the danger of walkers (and their dogs) to cattle? They are usually on private land and fenced in - so keep out. You wouldn't go tramping through somebody's garden.

Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 11:46:48

EllenVannin You may not be aware but known trails such as the Wolds way, Minster way etc take walkers through land grazed with cattle.
We have been near the end of a 12 mile hike to earth faced with a field full of cattle!

We don’t get up in the morning and decide we’re going to walk through random fields of cattle.

VANECAM Sun 16-Jan-22 11:52:10

Of course a herd of cattle is always deemed to be unsafe.
It’s the condition and upkeep of their living environment that makes them safe and for the most part, those conditions have to be provided by their keeper.

It’s more likely to be the case that the farmer was either unable or not prepared to provide the correct conditions.

Blondiescot Sun 16-Jan-22 11:55:38

If you've grown up in the countryside, you learn to be respectful of fields with ANY livestock in them. I'd always tend to side with the farmers in a situation like this. This is their livelihood after all, and it's very distressing if any of their animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats - even things like alpacas and llamas now) are injured as a result of people not respecting them.

MaizieD Sun 16-Jan-22 11:56:14


What about the danger of walkers (and their dogs) to cattle? They are usually on private land and fenced in - so keep out. You wouldn't go tramping through somebody's garden.

Do you not realise, Hetty58, that a great many fields have public footpaths running through them? Walkers are not doing the equivalent of tramping through someone's garden, they are exercising a legal right to be there. (Deviating from the footpath is technically trespassing.)

I am very surprised that you don't appear to know that.

It's as absurd to say that farmers shouldn't be allowed to put cattle in fields where there are footpaths; walkers should be more aware of the safest way to 'share' a field with cattle which represent the farmer's livelihood.

I'd like to know a bit more about 'the lady from Masham', Sago. Do you have a link to the story. Attacks by cattle usually seem to have a dog involved somewhere. Was that the case in this instance?

Maya1 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:56:20

Where we live there is a huge common, and every year farmers can let their cows roam on the common and Port Holme. I assume they have been able to do this for hundreds of years.
However children, dog walkers and many people catching trains take a short cut across this common.
There have been many close incidents over the years, when our collie was younger, we only used a far off narrow strip but we had to repeatedly shout out to people to run to get out of the way of the cows. We were always safe but many people don't realise how dangerous cows can be.
We don't go there now but it is free roaming land so both people and animals are free to use it.

Maya1 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:58:39

Sorry, meant to say, there was a proper public footpath through this common.

Calendargirl Sun 16-Jan-22 12:01:03

Not cows, but sheep.

On our local FB page this week, 2 sheep had to be put down after being chased by dogs not on leads.

Very irresponsible of the dog owners.

Shelflife Sun 16-Jan-22 12:02:34

I stay well clear of cows, they can be aggressive especially if people have a dog. I recognize it is difficult for walkers if there is a right of way through a field of cattle, but right if way or not I keep out if a field that has cattle in !

Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 12:02:35

MaizieD Here’s a link, this lady did have a dog but there seem to be more and more attacks not involving dogs.

Since the first lockdown I think walking has become a lot more popular which could be the reason behind this.

A farmer friend told me to carry a stick and shout and wave it around if cows come close, this seems to be contrary to official advice!

toscalily Sun 16-Jan-22 12:02:57

I do sense a degree of entitlement here "I will walk where I want, when I want, how I want" If the footpath is on the farmers land, you have the right of way but it is still his land and why should the farmer have the expense of fencing a path off when the cows will not always be in the field anyway. As ExDancer says they are not pets, follow the countryside code and be aware.

Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 12:02:58

Oh forgot the link😳.

Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 12:04:43

Toscalily Entitlement? What bit of anyone’s post shows entitlement?

Sago Sun 16-Jan-22 12:06:12

Toscalily The cows will not always be in the field!
The land is grazed in rotation and some herds are taken indoors in winter.

toscalily Sun 16-Jan-22 12:08:12

Sago, that is my point!