Walkers are being urged to take care when they come into contact with cows this summer following the death of a pensioner in Wiltshire.
The 66-year-old was walking his dog with his 70-year-old brother in May when he was trampled to death by a herd of cows.
Although there have been no fatalities in East Sussex, there have been incidents of cows attacking walkers, particularly those with dogs.
Following last month’s attack, East Sussex County Council is reminding people that the normally docile animals can become aggressive towards walkers with dogs and charge, especially when calves are present.
Councillor Carl Maynard, Lead Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Thankfully serious incidents involving walkers and cattle are very rare. However, we would always recommend walkers take steps to keep themselves as safe as possible.
“We want people to enjoy the beautiful countryside East Sussex has to offer, but we would encourage people to consider taking a mobile phone when out walking so they can call for help if they need to.”
Walkers are advised to follow this simple advice to ensure they stay safe;
• Do be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
• Do move quickly and quietly and if possible walk around the herd
• Do keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead
• Do not get between cows and their calves
• Do not hang onto your dog. If you are threatened by cattle – let it go as the cattle will chase the dog
• Don’t put yourself at risk. Find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
• Don’t panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
John Archer, Environment and Land Use Adviser for the NFU in the south east, warned walkers to remember the countryside is a working environment and said it is not always possible to separate grazing animals from public rights of way.
He added: “Walkers should be mindful of their surroundings and especially vigilant on entering a field where the whole field cannot be seen. Follow the advice above and be sympathetic to animals that are rearing their young – please give them space.”
Malcolm McDonnell, East Sussex Footpath Secretary of the Ramblers, said: “Our beautiful East Sussex countryside is working farmland, which helps form its character and make it such a pleasure to walk in. However, with any working environment, there are certain risks, but the incidents of people being attacked by cattle are few and far between.
“We urge everyone out walking to be aware of the ‘dos and don’ts’ of walking in fields with cows and their calves at this time of year, but not to let the very low risk of cattle attacks put them off enjoying the countryside when it is, arguably, at its loveliest.”