Farmers’ union urge caution for walking near cows

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The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has reminded walkers to exercise caution around cows after a Wirksworth woman was injured by a herd.

The 48-year-old dog walker was left with broken ribs, a punctured lung and stitches to her face after the incident in May.

Andrew Critchlow, the NFU’s Derbyshire county adviser, said: “Spring and summer are when we love to enjoy the countryside, so it is this time of year when walkers must be most aware of the issues.”

While there have been some well publicised issues with walkers being injured by cattle - on rare occasions fatally - such incidents are relatively rare.

In Derbyshire the risk is slightly higher because there are more suckler cow herds - where mothers and calves are kept together for longer.

Andrew said: “Cattle, especially young stock are inquisitive and will often follow walkers, but it is cows, who feel naturally very protective of their calves, that can be more than inquisitive.

“Don’t panic if you are followed, walk calmly and quickly away from the herd.”

He added: “If you are walking your dog and find there are cattle in your path, avoid going straight through them.

“Take a wide detour, walking calmly around them with your dog on a lead. Don’t walk between a cow and her calf. If the cattle move towards you and you feel threatened, let your dog off the lead and move quickly, but calmly, to safety.”

For more advice, find the full Countryside Code at www.naturalengland.org.uk.