Beware of the cows

Sussex cattle

After the untimely and tragic death of Professor Bellhouse, killed by his own cattle whilst walking through the herd, it dawns on you how dangerous farming is. Although this type of incident is rare, it is very much a hazard to be aware of if you are out walking on one of the many footpaths around Rye. These paths that were created to allow fellow countrymen the most direct route to their workplace before the age of the motor vehicle, have been adopted by the 21st century rambler, some of whom appear clueless to the ways of the countryside.

Agriculture must be the only industry that has no choice in allowing the general public to ramble across its factory floor unaccompanied at any time of the day or night, regardless of any health and safety risk.

So if you do find yourself in amongst cattle on your walk, then the advice below may come in handy.

The National Farmers’ Union and The Ramblers say that cows can feel threatened by dogs and are, therefore, more likely to attack. They have issued advice to walkers:


  • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
  • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
  • Keep your dog close, on a short lead, and under effective control.
  • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.


  • Don’t hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle – let it go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle. Find another way round the cattle and re-join 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.

Photo: Simon Wright


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